Masks on parade


Leon Nguyen, Staff Writer

American International College’s Craft and Design class taught by Professor Laurie Montefusco considers the distinction of fine art craft and folk arts by showing off their beauty at the Opening Celebration Art Show on April 19, 2016.

The students of the ART 1120 course have learned about the definition of art in various cultures and how it relates to ritual practice. One of the things they have created in class are masks.

Silks and masks are made in countless cultures for many reasons, from celebration and commemoration, to giving gratitude or clarifying the social hierarchy in the old days.

The masks in the Craft and Design class are made of plaster with paper and other additions. The crafting of the masks is a cooperative effort between the students and the instructor. Masks in many of the old cultures are made by professionals who were either expert in this particular craft or were noted sculptors or artisans because they frequently played a spiritual or supernatural role that the artist who made them probably felt the spirit power of image to be created.

The sculptors had to handle the tools and materials in a prescribed way to develop or acquire the power and potency of the object and also to protect the mask maker. Some believed because of the close association and intimate knowledge of the mask making that the maker of the mask absorbs some of its magical power. He is even capable of using the mask to harm others.

The masks themselves are often restricted because generally they have a traditional imagery with formal conventions. If these rules and stylistic conventions are not followed, the artist can bring himself upon himself the severe censure of his social group and the displeasure or even wrath of the spirit power inherent in the mask.

This does not restrict artistic expressiveness and the mask maker can give his own creative interpretation to the traditionally prescribed general forms, attributes and devices sought out because of his known ability to give a vitally expressive or an aesthetically pleasing presentation of the required image.

While the masks unfortunately will not be shown at the Student Art Show for various reasons, this article will provide several images to showcase the details.

Silk is formed by a natural fiber; some forms can be woven or textiles. It was originally developed in the ancient China and advanced to various of other cultures such as India, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Ancient Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Medieval and modern Europe, to North America.

Students in the Craft and Design course learned the principles of design and about how the fluid medium of acrylic dye reacts on the delicate and highly responsive material, silk.

This work can be seen in the Opening Celebration of Student Art Show hung in the Karen Sprague Cultural Arts Center – West Wing Gallery at American International College featuring themes related to the Upcoming Musical ‘Hair’ on Tuesday, April 19. The art show runs from 6:15-7:45 p.m.

The show will also exhibit work from the Visual and Digital Arts program with the Theater Arts program.