Michelle Kim

Smile for Your Life

Class of: 2023

Major: Interior Design BFA

Medium: Sculpture

Faculty: Peter Mallo

Prompt: The assignment for this project was to create a mask and a stand that the mask would sit on. The mask is supposed to reflect a culture of our choice and the medium was open-ended.

The mask I designed reflects my Korean nationality. It represents the mask that women constantly wear to survive in a patriarchal society, an allusion of being weak, fragile, submissive, happy, and a beautiful object. The base of the mask is made out of wood and the general form was inspired by the Korean traditional concubine theater mask. After, it was painted over to look like Korea’s traditional pottery where the detailing was taken from the ancient time period. To increase the illusion of celadon, I used raisin to create a glossy coating. The illusion of the celadon pottery is only a thin layer of the mask. The mask is mostly left as wood to show a false-front of the mask being grand and promising false freedom. The broken mirror pieces and the painted blood is to show that women are not made to live such a life. Once one chooses to wear this mask, it will end up destroying the human within her. I chose to leave some of the bare wood around the eyes and mouth to show that the human in her will never be fully removed; for eyes will see the unfairness and her mouth will scream for help.