The obscured face series depicts people who have covered their faces for some reason. The reason might be religious (hijabs and other head coverings), it might be for safety (surgical masks or gas masks), it might be for warmth (lined hoods and scarves), or it might be for style (hoodies, bandanas). All of these coverings elicit judgments, positive or negative depending on your perspective. In this series I have removed that context and depict only the human skin that is visible. I want to explore how we might see these different categories of people if the context clues provided by their clothing were removed.
I have sorted the pieces into different title categories (covered, protected, veiled, etc) in order to allude to the intention (as I perceive it) for each person’s covering. I’ve also listed as part of the title the country where I believe the photo was taken. In most cases I am licensing photos through a service rather through direct contact with photographers, so the photo’s origin location is sometimes an educated guess. Likewise, while the intention for wearing certain clothing is obvious (there’s only one reason to wear a surgeon’s mask), the way in which the wearer would describe their reason for obscuring their face is not available to me.
I have taken these titling liberties to convey the documentary origins (rather than imaginary or arbitrary) of the pieces and perhaps to incite thoughts and discussions around the work. However, whether I have any right to essentially speak on behalf of anyone else, especially when I do not fully understand their cultures, is entirely questionable.
All intentions and theoreticals aside, I hope that these are, in nothing else, intriguing portraits of people from around the world.
Media: acrylic, encaustic, oil