Juliet Wang

Nuo Mask - Memory and Tranquility

Class of: 2027

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: Paper, Acrylic Paint, Yarn, Beads, Sea Shells

Faculty: Bryan Melillo

Prompt: In this project we explored and experimented with contemporary mask making. We were asked to make a mask that resolves our partner’s fear. In Seminar we wrote letters for each other describing and explaining our fears with words and drawings, and in Studio we will design and create a mask using the knowledge from the letters and make a mask that will enable my partner to overcome their fears, insecurities, and restraints and liberate, heal, change, and empower them.

This contemporary mask a mixed-media piece that encapsulating a narrative of self-discovery and the 2 relentless pursuit of internal equilibrium.

Central to this artistic creation is an artifact from Tibetan dance rituals, Nuo mask. Chosen for its symbolic potency in dispelling negativity and invoking happiness, the mask assumes a central role in the exploration of the subject’s personal feelings. The main purpose of this mask is to maintain peace of mind and thoughts, so unlike traditional masks, I chose to turn the mask into a headpiece to protect the peace of mind. Drawing parallels with Tibetan Buddhist culture, the piece is imbued with a spiritual essence, emphasizing the transient nature of external relationships in contrast to the enduring essence of self. To deepen the narrative, elements inspired by Tibetan storytelling traditions, such as braids and beaded chains, are woven into the artwork.

Feeling the deep connection to the ocean for its tranquility and sense of belonging, I also chose to incorporate shell elements into the composition. Drawing inspiration from childhood memories wherein the sound of ocean waves was experienced by holding a conch near the ear, I strategically placed shells to cover the ears. To shield the person wearing the mask from the judgements of the external world and, simultaneously, to provide a channel for the gentle resonance of ocean waves. This deliberate intervention seeks to establish an auditory sanctuary, offering a respite from external chaos and affording an opportunity to engage in introspective contemplation.