Released November 2015
“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” —Oscar Wilde
I grew up transfixed by potlatches. Fear and excitement would come in equal measure as I witnessed dancers emerge from behind a cloth screen. Dark woollen blankets would cover their bodies while carved and painted masks would conceal their faces. As the firelight danced off the facets of the masks, the dancers were transformed—they became the bears of the forest, the whales of the sea and the thunderbirds way up in the sky. Such is the power of the mask.
Masks, of course, are used by all cultures. They are a means to not only shield or conceal one’s identity, but also to play a part in conveying a story and transforming the wearer into something else. It seems a paradox, but hiding one’s face can be one of the most liberating things one can do. When I wear a mask to dance, I become that which adorns me. I become free in movement and free to convey the message.
In recent years, activists have adopted the face of Guy Fawkes to serve as a symbol. They do this to show unity and as a disguise so that their voice can be heard—regardless of their social class, their race, their ethnicity, their gender, their family or their employer.
In my Mask, I adorn the hat and background with a double headed serpent, the sisiyuł—the Kwakwaka’wakw symbol of the Warrior—in the hope that it will give our young people—our warriors—the voice to speak up on all issues of vital importance.
“Mask” is a limited edition print using the giclée method of printmaking. This print was released in November of 2015 and printed by Andy Everson at Copper Canoe, the artist’s own studio in Comox B.C. A total of 121 prints bear the title “Mask” and are signed by Andy Everson: 24 in the primary edition bearing the numbers 1/21 through 21/21; 2 Artist’s Proofs; and 1 Printer’s Proof. The acid-free Moab Entrada 100% cotton rag paper measures about 17x17.25 inches. Image size measures about 15.5x15.5inches.