mascaras. over the course of one hundred consecutive days, i drew a mask a day, as part of the 100dayproject organized by the great discontent and elle luna. the idea was to draw daily, quickly, and instinctively. i chose to focus on mexican folk masks, a lifelong fascination. most of these masks are from mexico, though there are a handful from puerto rico and other countries. the source material was varied, but mostly came from a couple of books: mexican masks, by donald cordry (1980); mask arts of mexico, by ruth d. lechuga & chloé sayer (1994); and masks of mexico, a book of postcards from the museum of new mexico (2001).
it's hard to tell exactly when this interest in masks started. my parents would take me to the museo nacional de antropologia in mexico (chapultepec park). i do not have concrete, actual memories of these visits, but over time I’ve been able to verify them by triangulating the thought—my mom talks about taking me there; my sisters recall something along those lines, and every time I see a mask it feels deeply familiar, known. mexican culture is full of masks. some worn in rituals, some others are buried deep beneath our psyche. it is in the expression and re-iteration of these mythical beings that, through time, we've attempted to find ourselves.
none of these masks or expressions were made up. they are all based on an actual mask that someone made somewhere, sometime in the mid-20th century. most mask makers are anonymous, and they base their creations on mexican folklore, ancient beliefs that date to pre-cortesian times: the strength of the jaguar, the cunning of the snake, the healing power of dance and myth.
these are the 50 or so masks that came out better than the others during the hundred days of the project. they aim to preserve and reinterpret the source material, both as an exercise in loose creativity as well as one of cultural self-reflection. if you're curious, all one hundred original instagram posts can be seen here. (forgive the gratuitous filter here & there...)