Amira Flayhan

Hybrid Culture Mask

Class of: 2025

Major: Interior Design BFA

Medium: A combination of multiple media: Chipboard, thread, wire, & mechanical fasteners.

Faculty: Aviva Maya Shulem

Prompt: In this project, students are tasked with developing a 3D ‘hybrid mask’ inspired by elements of an ancient culture, principles of Beauty, and personal interpretation of its usage in the current time. This Project aims to find new ways of defining our subjective understanding of the meaning of Beauty. Beauty can be experienced; Beauty can be emotional; Beauty can bring texture; Beauty can be warmed & can add richness to life, etc. Personal perspective and life experience shape our perception of what we find inspiring and beautiful. How can Beauty affect one beyond the physical meaning of haptic? This mask is to be completed without the use of glue, tape, or any form of adhesive. Mechanical connections must be applied in order to construct

In an era where masks have become a ubiquitous aspect of our society and quotidian attire, the reality of a mask allows us to be in control of the parts of our face that we wish to share [or not share] with those we encounter. As a Lebanese-American woman, I was inspired to research the facial mask, the battoulah ( البرقع الخليجي ), worn by Arab women. As an artist who appreciates fashion and cultural practice, this was an opportunity to expand my knowledge and further develop a sense of design from a historical context. This traditional mask was used for protection. Protecting her face and skin from the harsh desert climate, or an accessory to avert the male gaze, this article served as a barrier from the outside world. The battoulah was made from metal or goat leather, to withstand the conditions of the region and maintain its form.

As the women of Lebanon wore the battoulah in a modest form of beauty, I emulated this cultural piece and created an article that allows women the confidence to keep private. Through an elegant facial garment, the traditional and antiquated style of the mask was maintained. Imitating the material of goat leather, a similar texture was created through the combination of chipboard and spray paint. While personally reflecting on the meaning of beauty, the predominant quality that comes to mind is confidence. Having the confidence to make decisions on who has access to your physical being is an indication of strength and beauty. In terms of beauty, I often believe that less is more. The simplistic structure of the mask allows for privacy and coverage; while accentuating the eyes and the expression they possess. The contrast between the mask and the tenderness of the eyes creates a confident beauty.