About My Golden Mask Project
I deeply realized the importance of human existence and communication through the pandemic facing us in 2020. It was difficult to read people's emotions because they had been wearing masks for so long and couldn't see each other's mouths. Through this process, I was able to deeply contemplate the loneliness and existential problems of modern people. Compared to the past, it has become materially richer, more splendid, and more convenient, but I think that modern people are crying inside their masks amid such abundance. I came to make a golden mask based on these masked depression and materialism. The gold in my mask stands for materialism. The shape symbolizes diversity by combining the round face of an Asian with the facial features of a Westerner. Also, by opening their mouths, they offered hope that they could solve their problems and further create a beautiful community when they honestly talked about their feelings, even though they were inside a mask, through correct communication with each other. During this semester's classes, especially for students with learning disabilities, I was able to learn that problems are easily solved when you open up your problems honestly and communicate.
Students with learning disabilities often have their own painful pasts, wounds and traumas. If they come to know, they may not be able to live together, twisted due to inner pain, like the lonely modern people in Edward Hopper's paintings. Masks cover their scars and especially my golden mask has an open mouth to speak honestly about their problems while covering their scars. I would especially like to offer this masked class to students with learning disabilities. While learning the intention of mask making, it is highly likely that you will open up your conflicts and inner problems sufficiently. Because the intent of this mask is the underlying masked depression. The production process can also increase the educational effect of protecting the environment by making a mask frame using newspaper. Above all, the act of kneading and shaping newspaper porridge to make a frame can enhance students' fine motor sense. Students with learning disabilities are often accompanied by disorders of the nervous system or cognitive abilities, so making dough like this can help improve their biological disabilities. Also, the detailed work of attaching gold foil is very helpful in strengthening concentration. A series of processes in which soft newspaper dries to harden and is born as a new art is a symbolic and educational help in positively forming a mold called identity for children. This is the process of turning recycled materials into a product and making something out of nothing. While expressing your scars and distorted thoughts, coloring and decorating them, you may gain energy to forget the past and move on to the future.
Through the process of making my golden mask, I was able to discover fantastic combinations of materials as an artist. Artists constantly research materials and techniques to express their inspiration. In this respect, the experiment through this homework called The Golden Mask gave me a jumping point of technological discovery as an artist as well as an educator. For example, after I finished molding with newsprint and completely dried the mold, I attached gold leaf to the mold. It was found that this gold leaf was more effective when applied to the rough surface of newspaper than when simply applied to paper. It was like a surface of gold pulled straight from a gold mine. The angles and textures that shimmer depending on the lighting caught my eye. This is another new skill that I discovered through this class and I'm very happy with the technique. And when I tried this, I found that as an artist, not only paper, but also surfaces such as masks, newspapers, clay, ceramics, etc. could be sufficiently considered as materials. This helps me to break my stereotypes as an artist. I also have to wake up one by one the negative energies such as inner prejudice and fixed sense of defeat that are latent. I believe that we can have the right identity as an educator when we learn lessons while breaking out of this frame and be reborn as a new molding like a golden mask. When I think about it in this way, the mask making in this class is a valuable class that made me break the fixed mold as an educator and an artist and take a step forward.
Myungja Anna Koh