A Journey In Self Discovery with Shakespeare and Me
The art form that is probably most closely associated with use of masks is the dramatic theatre, where masks are used to identify a player or create a character. William Shakespeare, whose works have remained popular for centuries, achieved through mastery of the language, an approach to character development unequalled since. What is character development but revealing personalities to the audience, thus stripping away all the falseness, making players’ actions totally believable?
Avarice, greed, self loathing, blind ambition, vanity, carnal desire etc. are all palpable in these plays. Personas are stripped naked for all to see. We discover our own foibles which are endemic in humans even today. This is why we are still performing, reading and relating to these timely works. We have the desire to know ourselves in our own struggle for self discovery, and Shakespeare helps us do this, even if it hurts.
With the use of steel, that marvelous material which was a major contributor to the advancement of European civilization, I have created UNMASKS, which I define as facial reproductions that reveal rather than conceal the true self. Steel is made of the natural elements of iron and carbon; and the irony lies, excuse the pun, in the inherent unyielding, cold and strong properties the metal possesses. I find this analogous to our genetically imbued human traits that we all have within us but are constantly trying to suppress.
As an artist and sculptor, I try to transmute self discovery to myself and my audience. That, along with my fascination for the master of the dramatic arts and my own objective to reveal rather than conceal, has compelled me (I might say humbly) to try to UNMASK the Shakespearean characters visually as Shakespeare has achieved so magnificently verbally.