Carolina Paraizo

The Summerians

Class of: 2027

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: Wire, Cardboard and Spraypaint

Faculty: Aviva Maya Shulem

Prompt: The assignment was to create a mask using linear materials, that was inspired by an ancient culture.

After reading the book Art History from Stokstad, I was deeply inspired by the culture of the Summerians. Most of their artifacts were found in temples and represented a devotion to the gods. They created several pieces that emphasized the power of the rulers of the time and most of them had symbolistic meanings that I wanted to incorporate and include in my work.

I analysed several aspects of their culture and tried combining them in my mask design. The big beard and hair for example, were a symbol of power among their culture. Another important detail of their art was representing animals, especially bulls, as humans or vice versa.

Therefore, my design included a wire bull’s head, inspired by the “reconstruction of the great lyre with bull’s head”, found on the royal tombs. I added a long wire beard and cardboard hair to highlight the power of the rulers. I spraypainted everything in gold, since it was a common used material among the Summerians, and included some patterns on the head that I saw in many artifacts of their culture. The eyes are big, to create a bridge between the gods and earth, like the “voltive figures” of the Summerians. I also used a male model for the final pictures, since the rulers of the time were mostly men.

When representing a culture, I always try to stay true to their values and their cultural significance. For that reason, this was the base for all of my design, that I created based on research from the Stokstad book and details from images of artifacts from this culture.