Paige Anderson

Behind the Mask

Class of: 2023

Major: Fine Arts BFA

Medium: Charcoal, pastel on paper

Faculty: Krista Johannson

Prompt: For my final project in my Objects as History course students were asked to curate an art exhibition using 3 objects and write a 5-page proposal for it. The project required us to combine a visual and a written component, a debatable and clear thesis statement on the aim of the exhibit and a bibliography of the academic sources used and cited throughout the proposal.

In creating a proposal for a museum exhibit I chose to make 3 different compositions of 3 distinct masks in history. Masks have been one of the most prevalent artifacts in multiple cultures throughout history. From the Dan people in Africa to play masks in nineteenth-century Japan and Egyptian sarcophagus heads, masks have been used to hide identity, create identities and most importantly remember them and convey a story or an event. Now imagine going to an exhibit that shows this trend across multiple periods, you’re allowed to go in-depth on three distinguishable pieces that tell the story of each of the cultures they come from and how they are related to each other. Ancient masks allow people to learn about the role identity played in the creation of art throughout time. Throughout our history, ancient people were intelligent individuals who had a great sense of self and identity shown through the art that they created. The acknowledgment of oneself within culture throughout time has proven itself to be one of the most interesting aspects of ancient civilization life. The following artifacts can be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and are displayed in chronological order to create an understanding of the different types of identities there might have been, associated with the time in which they were created.