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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

When masks speak

This one-of-its kind exhibition in the city displays innovative masks created by 300 Indian and international artists.

art-and-culture Updated: Dec 28, 2011 02:24 IST
Vaishali Bhambri
Vaishali Bhambri
Hindustan Times

When you see a mask, you are likely to get intrigued by it, as the object is essentially a caricature of the human face. Since artists can convey various expressions through these masks, their usage can be widely seen in art.

Celebrating the form of disguise is the International Mask Exhibition 2012 in the Capital, where over 300 Indian and International artists will present their interpretation and art work on a 1 X 1 fibre glass mask. Participants from Assam, Kanyakumari, Jammu, Madhya Pradesh and US and the UK have presented their works in this exhibition.

“We just provided the masks to the artists and it was up to them to paint them accordingly. There is no theme to the exhibition,” says artist Asurvedh, president, Nav Siddhartha Art, the organisers of the show. The mask painted by him is called Historical Face and displays the rhythmic patterns formed by contours on monuments. “Masks form an important part of art,” says artist Amitava Bhowmick, whose mask shows the third eye of Lord Shiva.

While some artists have used water colours and oil pastels to paint their masks, others have super imposed other objects on the mask to give it a different look. “I’ve earlier done a series of water colour paintings, with the parrot being the central theme. Even in my mask, I have imposed a parrot on it to give it a 3D look,” says artist Mukesh Sah.

Another artist who has used this technique is Arun Pandit, who has painted his mask in white and gold, with two horns. “My mask is a tribute to womanhood. Half of it has Mona Lisa on it and the other half has an Indian woman,” says Bhowmick, whose mask is called Oh Monalisa!

“My mask depicts our scant respect for the environment”, says artist Arpana Caur, whose mask is called - My Earth Was Green.

Catch them live here


International Masks Exhibition, 2012


December 30-January 5


11am to 7pm


: Lalit Kala Akademi, Rabindra Bhawan, Mandi House Nearest Metro Station: Mandi House on the Blue Line

Masks in theatre Commedia dell’arte

This form of theatre that began in 16th century in Italy, used masks as characters. The characters in this theatre usually depict foolish old men, devious servants, or military officers full of false bravado. The storyline is often based on themes of adultery, jealousy, old age and love.

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre

This puppet company from Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, is best known for their May Day Parade and Ceremony that is seen by almost 35,000 people each year. The use of masks to depict different characters has been its highlight ever since its inception in 1973.


In this major form of classical Japanese musical drama being performed since the 14th century, most of the characters are behind masks. Male actors play both masculine and feminine roles in the drama. There are four major categories of Noh performers — shite, waki, kyogen, and hayashi

First Published: Dec 27, 2011 18:11 IST