For the last few weeks, on every Monday evening, our twenty students have been engaged in making mask from garbage and waste as a part of an art project. The art project was facilitated by Ms. Taylor Cass Stevenson, a zero waste artist working for Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative (SJI), in Dewathang. In this art class, students were led in designing their own masks using tetra packs, plastics, thread, glue, paper, worn out cloths etc.
The project was carried out as a progressive series of classes, meeting once a week, for an hour to allow for the processes required to make a mask (drying a mask after using glue etc…). This was also gave our students time to think creatively, learn being patient , and design a mask of the best quality possible. The project also aimed to deepen their understanding of the use of waste in productive and creative ways, so that the students will develop positive alternative ways of looking at and dealing with garbage.
Every process of designing a mask into the desired shapes has given the students plenty of opportunities to think, starting from selecting the tetra packs, cutting them into unique shapes, adorning the surfaces to look scary/funny, stitching and many more. There was also time for them to refine their skills of drawing, painting, and collaging: putting many things together to make it look like one, and finally, time to appreciate the work of art
Now, hanging from one side of the class wall, we can see twenty different masks designed by 20 of them, reflecting their hard work and creativity. To me it is amazing to see that the very garbage most of us would think should stay in the waste bin is used to decorate and make art. It looks beautiful!