I am fascinated by cross-cultural experiences, and specifically by the liminal space within which people of mixed heritage exist. The idea of wearing masks in daily life is fairly universal, but moving through multiple cultures requires its own unique brand of performance and camouflage.
This, too, can be said of living with a mental health disorder, or indeed any kind of illness. Oftentimes the masks we wear are meant to cover our pain, but existing in a space of constant performance can be exhausting and isolating.
With this pendant, I wanted to capture all of these things: the loneliness of existing behind a facade, the power of choosing to do so, the intersections between health and race. I based this piece off of traditional Korean masks known as tal, which have been used in Korean theater as well as shamanistic and religious ceremonies since the mid-Goryeo dynasty. At times they are detailed and realistic; at other times, grotesque caricatures. I wanted this piece to feel simple in design, jarring in appearance, and unfathomable in expression. In the words of my father, it's "traditional with a Twilight Zone twist."
This design was hand carved in wax and cast in recycled sterling silver with an oxidized 'antique' finish. Hangs from a 20" silver plated rolo chain. Also available in bronze.