VISIBILITY Magazine Issue 03. (April 2018) | Page 2

Swarthmore College Intercultural Center 500 College Avenue Swarthmore, PA 19081 USA (610) 328-7353 SPRING 2018 VISIBILITY MAGAZINE ISSUE 03 Masks “We wear the mask that grins and lies,” begins the poem by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, referring to the burden of putting on a happy face to mask the suffering of black folks. We often talk about hiding behind masks for safety or to “pass” in mainstream identity, or we talk about unmasking deceivers. However, I wanted to examine what masks can reveal about the person underneath and how they can make our histories more visible. A mask might represent a person’s profession or declare readiness for war. A mask might represent a character onstage or transformation into an animal totem. I chose a range of masks from around the world, both ancient and contemporary, that tell stories about the history of a people. I hope they inspire you to be vigilant of what’s below the surface of things and to proudly wear the legacy of your own ancestors in whatever ways feel authentic to you. Top to bottom, left to right: sleep mask, Mardi Gras (New Orleans), scuba mask, surgical mask, Tami Island tago dance mask (Huon Gulf, Papua New Guinea), Hopi kachina mask (Arizona), Yup’ik (Alaska), vejigante (Puerto Rico), Noh theater mask (Japan), Baule (Côte d’Ivoire), Kwakwaka’wakw tsonoqua mask (British Colombia), Guy Fawkes mask, knight’s helmet (Britain, late 13th century), Huichol (Mexico), Topeng dance mask (Indonesia), Nuu-Chah-Nulth (Vancouver), gay pride costume mask, Sepik (Papua New Guinea), Hemba (The Democratic Republic of the Congo), Toltec (Mexico) Yona Yurwit is a mixed media artist in Philly. She uses her work to explore systems, patterns, and connections, both between people and between people and the rest of creation. Her hope is to inspire curiosity and wonder at the delicate bonds between us all