Who Are We? Project

Who Are We? Project

What do you see beneath?

Beneath the mask of a brand,

An expectation,

A façade.

Is there anything there to see?

A strong woman,

A scared girl,

A heart screaming?

What do you see under my shattered mask?

Is that the truth, flickering like a candle on a stormy night?

Is it just another mask?

Another layer,

Another lie.

We all do it, one way or another, consciously or not, it’s human nature to disguise our true feelings to appear, in our minds, better to those around us.  This likely comes from the pack-animal desire to fit in and be a part of a group that is larger than us. This action is called: Social Masking; covering true feelings or true personality as an attempt to better fit into a social situation or to appear more appealing to a social group.

This ‘masking’ of our true feelings is generally considered harmful and incredibly bad for our mental health, because it is a suppression of who we truly are and what we really think. Many, as myself, are not truly certain of who we really are beneath the layers of identity.

The Japanese have a phrase that is a beautiful take on this idea. They say that you have three faces, the first you show to the world, the second only to your close family and friends, and the third face you never show anyone.

This project was an exploration of the human psyche, specifically the concepts of social masking. I took on the idea of trying to break open my own mask and try to understand who the person was beneath. This exploration drew me down a path of self-portraiture and branding until I finally found a way to capture the shattering of my first face (in the form of my mock logo).

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I created my own mock logo based on my most prominent feature. Many people can recognised me from my curly hair alone and my ever-present headphones (above).

Version 2

(Above) Prints of the “logo” and word art I created to try and express ideas.

Version 2

(Above) The finished piece, a porcelain tile with the logo printed on it’s face then smashed it with a hammer and mounted it on dark, painted wood. The whole work ended up being around 50 x 80cm.

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(Above) The finished piece displayed to the public at my university’s end of year exhibition.

The question remains, was the mask broken out? Or was it broken in? Freeing the person beneath.

“Although I know it is unfair, I reveal myself one mask at a time” – Stephen Dunn