MASKS

Each of these masks that I've made is a self-portrait. The materials range from papier-mâché combined with photographs to also including Japanese papers, wire, fabric, thread, washi tape and thermoplastic. 

Some of these masks explore my cultural identity as half-Japanese. Some explore identity in a broader sense, using layers or masks wearing masks or by misaligning the facial features or by using the inside space of the masks. I also create "Inside Out" masks which have hidden faces on the inside/concave space of the masks.

See the galleries below for different categories of masks. 

Somewhere In Between

This series of 5 masks is called Somewhere in Between. The faces on the front of the mask are identical except for the slanting of the eyes. They range, in theory, from Caucasian to Japanese, but of course isn't realistic. The mask in the middle most representative of me as half-Japanese. These "Inside Out" masks have faces on the concave space of the masks which represent my inner world, so the eyes are closed as if in meditation. These have been exhibited in different ways - on custom built pedestals, or by hanging them from fishing lines so they hang and spin like a mobile. Either way they line up so they match my height to mimic my presence. A really cool illusion called The Hollow-Face Illusion happens when you view the concave faces at a certain angle- the faces appear to protrude out into space. 

Japanese Masks: These masks are a blend of my self-portrait with different characters from Japanese pop culture, theatre, dolls and folklore. Click on any mask to enlarge the photograph.

Self Portrait (Noh)

Self Portrait (Noh)

Self Portrait as Tengu (#1)

Self Portrait as Tengu (#1)

Self Portrait (Kabuki)

Self Portrait (Kabuki)

Self Portrait as Kitsune:Spirit Fox

Self Portrait as Kitsune:Spirit Fox

Self Portrait as Yokai #3

Self Portrait as Yokai #3

Self Portrait as Hello Kitty

Self Portrait as Hello Kitty

Self Portrait as a Daruma Doll

Self Portrait as a Daruma Doll

Self Portrait as a Japanese Ghost

Self Portrait as a Japanese Ghost

Self Portrait as Tengu (#2)

Self Portrait as Tengu (#2)

Self Portrait (Anime)

Self Portrait (Anime)

Self Portrait as Okame

Self Portrait as Okame

Self Portrait as Robot Geisha

Self Portrait as Robot Geisha

Self Portrait as Yokai #1

Self Portrait as Yokai #1

Self Portrait as Kaonashi:NoFace

Self Portrait as Kaonashi:NoFace

Self Portrait as Yokai #2

Self Portrait as Yokai #2

Self Portrait as Katana

Self Portrait as Katana

Self Portrait (Japanese Doll)

Self Portrait (Japanese Doll)

Self Portrait as Bunraku Transformation

Self Portrait as Bunraku Transformation

Self Portrait as Bunraku Transformation

Self Portrait as Bunraku Transformation

Self Portrait as Bunraku Transformation

Self Portrait as Bunraku Transformation

Self Portrait as a Geisha

Self Portrait as a Geisha

Self Portrait (Folk Character)

Self Portrait (Folk Character)

Self Portrait as a Kokeshi Doll

Self Portrait as a Kokeshi Doll

Self Portrait (Obon Neko)

Self Portrait (Obon Neko)

Self-Portrait (Split) is one of my favourite masks. It is an "Inside Out" Mask and has a hidden face on the inside. The Split face can represent being mixed race or having a discord between how I feel on the inside vs the outside, or it can represent a split personality. 

Layered Masks: Through the use of layers, at times concealing and at other times exposing my face, my masks reflect the relationship between myself and my body, as well as between society and my experiences, and they also correlate to the complexity and layers of identity. 

Self Portrait (Emerging)

Self Portrait (Emerging)

Self Portrait (Birthing)

Self Portrait (Birthing)

Self Portrait (Layers #5)

Self Portrait (Layers #5)

Self Portrait (Blossoming)

Self Portrait (Blossoming)

Self Portrait (Confined)

Self Portrait (Confined)

Self Portrait (Caged)

Self Portrait (Caged)

Self Portrait (Getting into Character)

Self Portrait (Getting into Character)

Self Portrait (Unfolding)

Self Portrait (Unfolding)

Self Portrait with Onion Skin (Layered I

Self Portrait with Onion Skin (Layered I

Self Portrait (Encased)

Self Portrait (Encased)

This mask Self-Portrait (Within) is a mix of mask sculpture and an Inside Out Mask.  2 masks were destroyed slightly and then combined with a hidden face revealed on the inside space of the masks. 

Shift Masks: These masks either have the facial features misaligned on the face (shifted) or I've added extra features, or turned them upside down, etc. I love playing with the dynamic where the surface or the mask might not match the structure of the mask and how that can relate to our inner worlds not matching our outer persona.

Self Portrait (Shift #9)

Self Portrait (Shift #9)

Self Portrait (Shift #8)

Self Portrait (Shift #8)

Self Portrait (Split)

Self Portrait (Split)

Self Portrait (Shift #3)

Self Portrait (Shift #3)

Self Portrait (Misaligned)

Self Portrait (Misaligned)

Self Portrait (Shift #2)

Self Portrait (Shift #2)

Self Portrait (3:4 Profile)

Self Portrait (3:4 Profile)

Self Portrait (Unfamiliar Eyes)

Self Portrait (Unfamiliar Eyes)

Self Portrait (Woven #5)

Self Portrait (Woven #5)

Self Portrait (Shifted Profile)

Self Portrait (Shifted Profile)

Self Portrait (Shift #4)

Self Portrait (Shift #4)

Self Portrait (Twins)-Inspired by Motohi

Self Portrait (Twins)-Inspired by Motohi

Self Portrait (Shift #5)

Self Portrait (Shift #5)

Self Portrait (Shift #1)

Self Portrait (Shift #1)

Self Portrait (Woven #1)

Self Portrait (Woven #1)

Self Portrait (All Seeing)

Self Portrait (All Seeing)

Self-Portrait (Triplets)

Self-Portrait (Triplets)

Self Portrait (Upside:Right Side)

Self Portrait (Upside:Right Side)

Self Portrait (Shifted Profile Variation

Self Portrait (Shifted Profile Variation

Self Portrait (Double Mask)

Self Portrait (Double Mask)

Self Portrait (Outside/Inside) is another Mask Sculpture and Inside Out Mask. 2 masks and combined with Kanji written on the Inside and Outside of the mask, each with literal meanings. These 3 pictures show the same mask from 3 different angles.

Ripped masks: The collage technique used here involves ripping the photo paper rather than cutting it for a different look. Some of these masks are self-portraits from different ages (at 20, 30 and 40 years old) Masks that show the cracks in-between, I call Hapa, or half-Japanese masks. 

Self Portrait (Age 20)

Self Portrait (Age 20)

Self Portrait (Half Japanese)

Self Portrait (Half Japanese)

Self Portrait (Age 30)

Self Portrait (Age 30)

Self Portrait (Hapa #3)

Self Portrait (Hapa #3)

Self Portrait (Age 40)

Self Portrait (Age 40)

Self Portrait (Hapa #2)

Self Portrait (Hapa #2)

Self Portrait (Peace) is an Inside Out Mask. On the inside space of the mask is an origami crane representing Peace. These 3 photos show the same mask from different angles.

These are masks inspired by different Japanese materials and artistic practises such as Rice paper, Calligraphy, Sashiko Stitching and Shibori.

Self Portrait (Aida:In Between)

Self Portrait (Aida:In Between)

Self Portrait (Motifs)

Self Portrait (Motifs)

Self Portrait (Inside Out #1)

Self Portrait (Inside Out #1)

Self Portrait (Molting)

Self Portrait (Molting)

Self Portrait (Japanese Materials #4)

Self Portrait (Japanese Materials #4)

Self Portrait (Japanese Materials #2)

Self Portrait (Japanese Materials #2)

Self Portrait (Japanese materials #3)

Self Portrait (Japanese materials #3)

Self Portrait in Kanji (Me:Kuchi)

Self Portrait in Kanji (Me:Kuchi)

Self Portrait (Stitched Shibori)

Self Portrait (Stitched Shibori)

Self Portrait (Stitched)

Self Portrait (Stitched)

Self Portrait (Kintsugi: Precious Scars)

Self Portrait (Kintsugi: Precious Scars)

Self Portrait (Shibori)

Self Portrait (Shibori)

Self Portrait (Holding On)

Self Portrait (Holding On)

Self Portrait (Japanese Materials #1)

Self Portrait (Japanese Materials #1)

Self Portrait in Blue is an Inside Out Mask and is comprised of rice paper dyed with indigo, Calligraphy Ink from my first Kanji lesson and a wire frame. 

Wearable masks: these masks are all designed specifically for wearing. The other masks can be worn but are more ornamental and aren't equipped with an elastic and have a different shape.
Self-Portrait (Ripped Eyes)

Self-Portrait (Ripped Eyes)

Self-Portrait as a Geisha

Self-Portrait as a Geisha

Self-Portrait (Shift #7)

Self-Portrait (Shift #7)

Self-Portrait (White Face #2)

Self-Portrait (White Face #2)

Self Portriat (Feeling Discombobulated).

Self Portriat (Feeling Discombobulated).

Self-Portrait (White Face #4)

Self-Portrait (White Face #4)

Self Portrait (Half Mask #1)

Self Portrait (Half Mask #1)

Self Portrait as Robot Geisha #2 (Ghost

Self Portrait as Robot Geisha #2 (Ghost

Self Portrait (Shift #6)

Self Portrait (Shift #6)

Self-Portrait (White Face #3)

Self-Portrait (White Face #3)

Self-Portrait (No Face)

Self-Portrait (No Face)

Self-Portrait (Covid Mask #2)

Self-Portrait (Covid Mask #2)

Self-Portrait (Black and White #1)- wear

Self-Portrait (Black and White #1)- wear

Self-Portrait (Uncanny Valley #1)

Self-Portrait (Uncanny Valley #1)

Self-Portrait (Shift #8)

Self-Portrait (Shift #8)

Self-Portrait (White Face #1)

Self-Portrait (White Face #1)

Self Portrait (Woven #2)

Self Portrait (Woven #2)

Self-Portrait (Uncanny Valley #2)

Self-Portrait (Uncanny Valley #2)

Self-Portrait (Black and White #2)

Self-Portrait (Black and White #2)

Self-Portrait (Lips)

Self-Portrait (Lips)

Self-Portrait (Mouth:Teeth:Tongue)

Self-Portrait (Mouth:Teeth:Tongue)

Self-Portrait (Covid Mask #1)

Self-Portrait (Covid Mask #1)

This "Double Mask" features 2 faces based on Japanese puppetry- Bunraku. In particular, this mask is based on a transformational puppet that changes from a woman to a jealous demon. 

Self Portrait (Mask Sculptures).jpeg
MTurnbull1.jpg
Mother and Daughter.jpeg
  • YouTube

Miya gratefully acknowledges the support from Arts Nova Scotia​ which has allowed her artwork to flourish. 

ArtsNS--colour.jpg

© 2021 Miya Turnbull

Self Portrait as Okame