Prayer Mask, Contemporary

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Prayer Mask, Contemporary    hand dyed and woven fiber, chemical respirator, optical calcite  2016

Prayer Mask, Contemporary is a basket mask woven around a respirator and optical calcite crystals for protected vision and breathing. The work was made to honor and acknowledge the water protectors of Oceti Sakowin Camp and the people on the front line at Standing Rock North Dakota protecting water from the Dakota Access Pipeline, and people all over the world who have stood to protect water and land from the destruction marketed as resource development. A counterpoint to masks in public and private collections that have been fetishized as separate from contemporary culture; this work was made with the intention of static, public display despite it’s functionality.  The optical calcite crystals provide the eyes of the viewer with protection and a bifurcation of view. Optical calcite is water precipitated and water soluble, it is literally a lens that comes from water. The structure of the crystal bifurcates what is seen, reminding us that multiplicity of vision is necessary to see what is around us with clearly. Water can teach us about seeing, as it can teach us about moving, with fluidity and persistence, water wears down what blocks it’s path; as the water protectors wear down the efforts of Sunoco and it’s investors through persistence of prayer and presence. The respirator prevents the inhalation of teargas during prayer, and is a reminder that technologies past and present are constantly being woven together through necessity for use in a good way. 

In collaboration with Yeil Ya-Tseen/Nicholas Galanin

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