Art of Masks
By Kinjal Trivedi
“Give a man a mask and he will reveal his true self!”
If you’ve heard this line before you will know it holds true for most of us in almost all situations.
But, why did masks really come into being? There are so many different materials used, colours, shapes, sizes, and of course, expressions!
Like we differ in body shape, skin tone, body language, spoken language, facial expressions, culture, food and thoughts… we created these ‘masks’. Typically for entertainment purposes in order to exaggerate the expressions of a character’s feelings on the stage so that the person sitting at the back in audience can also see.
Back in the days the masks were made of clay. Then wood, metal and ceramic came into the picture. Now some cultures make beautiful ones that are embellished with swarovski stones, laces, gold paint.
Some cultures believe masks can be used to ward off evil, worn for protection, in hunting, in sports, in feasts, or in wars.
Even now in the rural parts of India, there are many villages where masks play an important role in plays of Ramleela where the character of Ravana has ten heads attached together and Hanuman wears a Monkey Mask. This is a life long tradition around the world and we like to take it forward in some way or the other through movies, and reality.
You must watch Jim Carrey’s movie called The Mask. It’s fun, entertaining and you will understand what is meant by the first sentence of this column.