Masks we wear to conceal true self

Face Facts

His tryst with faces continues, but this time round, he explores not just the contours of a human face but also the mask that superimposes almost all faces in the present day context. Veteran artist Naresh Kapuria is back with his new exhibition titled ‘The Mask’ which has twenty three-dimensional installations done in fibre and burnt wood.

The artist describes these intriguing installations in earthy hues as a “Projection of our serene outer self as it disguises the suffering of the tortured inner soul. We often wish to have a power that not just allows us to read someone’s mind but also our own at times, to see who lives behind that face. At one point, a mask symbolises the face of falsehood and at another, it gives us an all new identity – a new face,” says Naresh describing his artwork.

The installations leave the onlooker with a sense of déjà vu since there is an uncanny similarity with the artist’s previous works which also explore the face, and the imaginary conversations that one face makes with the other. Enamoured by one of the most expressive parts of the human body, the artist confesses that “Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated by how people wear different masks in their daily lives. Every morning, they decide which mask they are going to wear today, whether consciously or subconsciously. And for every mask worn, there’s one that is left behind.” Following the same concept, the artist showcases the story of these different masks reminding one of a Bollywood masala thriller.

In the real life too, one cannot deny the muti-faceted personalities that almost everyone carries. In addition to this, there is also an interesting use of colourful cycle rims placed against a gloomy backdrop of wood-coloured masks, in one of the installations. There is also an eclectic placement of lights in a vertical installation which adds to its visual appeal and projects the tumultuous state of mind while it is in the process of hiding the inner feelings. Masks can shield us from danger or can suggest danger to others. They can be part of our assumption of what we would like to be, or of what we fear we may become.

Be it for whatever reasons, these masks also shield us from impending danger and warn those who fall for assumptions. While an individual’s mask is reflective of how we perceive ourselves, it also shows how we want others to perceive us and how we perceive those around us.

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