Harshini Karunaratne is a Sri Lankan-Peruvian photographer and visual designer. These works are a reflection of our current crisis as we face a new reality: “In the first image, I reflect on the romanticization of face masks. In the second, I combine shapes and colours in a dream-like way but to alert the viewer that what they’re witnessing, and experiencing, is not a dream.”
Scenes of Abu Dhabi, UAE during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Young masked men play pool outside Madinat Zayed. Others seem to be selling fake designer clothes in an illicit secondhand market. A lone man in a polo shirt has erected jumping castles to make extra cash outside the Gold Center. The castles are deserted. He listens to something on his phone, absorbed with all the intensity of the clouds gathering above. Life — the exchange of capital and conversations — must continue to rumble even at this off-kilter pace.
Laborers in the city must continue to earn money. Juice shops, cafeterias, carpet sellers, cobblers, tailors, honey vendors…all remain. They sip tea in their shops, trying to sell. In 48 hours, they will have to pack up and stay home for two weeks. Almost everyone on the street is masked. Small cigarettes and “massage cards” lie motionless on the pavement. Malayalam, French, Urdu, Wolof, Bengali: all the languages of the streets, of the working class, dance. They filter through masks and mix with the air like steam rising from the chai at Happy Cafeteria. Life — the exchange of capital and conversations — must continue to rumble even at this off-kilter pace.
Small groups of young West African men swap cigarette boxes, thin rolls of money, and bottles of hand sanitizer as they congregate outside an apartment building. I try not to look. I, girl with the zooming camera and lens-corrected eyes, am looked at. I stumble upon a shop called MASK FASHION nearby. Life — the exchange of capital and conversations — continues to rumble even at this off-kilter pace.
Vamika Sinhais a co-founder and editor-in-chief of Postscript. Find more of her photography here.
Tóia Azevedo’s main artistic research is on the concept of identity. She uses her own body to make this search: in self portraits, mixed media collages, embroidery, performance. Additionally, she likes to look at the faces of the strangers she sees in magazines, and imagine what stories lie behind them. Who are these people? What can their features tell us about them? And about us? And about Azevedo herself?
In the following works, Azevedo has burned some faces to show what lies behind a perfect pair of model’s eyes: some could say that it’s an act of uprising against our society’s ruthless beauty standards, a kind of revenge against the perfection persisting in the spotlight. By burning, Azevedo takes away their identity or showcases things that we don’t usually see in them. She has used embroidery to draw facial features from people she doesn’t know under a thin layer of tracing paper: the result is some confused lines that we identify as human faces. It is a projection of the real humans under the paper as if they are immersed in dim waters.
Finally, Azevedo has covered herself in pink organza fabric in an attempt to hide her body as a sacred unseen goddess – but it isn’t enough. She is forced to trace the lines which both shape and imprison her at the same time. It’s all about lines, really. It’s all about finding maps, locations and therefore, identities in the body’s features. What all these works have in common is the necessity of finding unknown places, hidden identities, that one would not be able to see if there wasn’t any kind of burning or hiding or covering of the lines.
Tóia Azevedo lives in São Paulo, Brazil, where she currently studies Visual Arts at São Paulo State University (UNESP). She works with portrayals of her own body in space, time and society. Tóia’s research involves goddesses and primordial feminine elements and how they manifest in our era. Some of her media includes photography, collage and embroidery, ceramics, performance, painting and poetry.
As an Iranian female artist based in Arkansas, Rajabi’s work revolves around the desire to reconcile her relationship with two distinctive spaces: Tehran (her native land) and Arkansas (where she resides now). In her paintings and installations, she re-creates intimate moments torn from her home and neighborhood in Iran. Because she is far away from her homeland and not allowed to return without being trapped in Iran, Rajabi can feel her memories of home fading away. She uses memories and images that have been rendered unrecognizable by the passage of time and turns them into shapes that allude to her homeland. Consequently, aspects of everyday life such as architecture, furniture, gardens, or a specific time of a day become the basis for her work. Her desire is to create a situation where the viewer looks at abstract paintings or installations and feels a familiarity, but can’t quite place what it is or why they sense a kinship. By creating this kind of scenario, she can show that regardless of nationality, religion, or gender there are commonalities for all individuals – that in a way, the masks of identities we wear may look different but are made of the same things.
Ziba Rajabi (b.1988, Tehran, Iran) received her MFA from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and her BFA from Sooreh University, Tehran. She is the recipient of the student artist grant for the Artist 360 Grant, a program sponsored by Mid-America Arts Alliance. Her work has been included in a number of exhibitions, nationally and internationally, such as Masur Museum, LA; CICA Museum, South Korea; Aran Gallery, Iran; Art Fileds, SC; Pensacola Museum, Florida; Site:Brooklyn, NY; Amos Eno Gallery,NY; Millersville University, Indiana University, and Mim Gallery, Los Angeles. Find more of her work here.
living the dream (your best life) smashing it anything’s possible inside the bubble —————-because you’ve got this (own it) and we’re having so much fun —————-because the universe provides and you & I are only limited by our limiting beliefs (what are you waiting for?) pass the sequinned bucket put on the vajazzled facemask the scariest part is not knowing feeling the fear 24/7/12/365 don’t overthink the journey —————-because I’m not sure yet but —————-I’ll decide on the way