Masks on masks

By Donna Judd
This item appears on page 15 of the December 2020 issue.
A few of my souvenir masks, now wearing masks, collected worldwide. Photos by Donna Judd
A couple of my masked masks, both of these from Papua New Guinea.

In the past 25 years, I’ve collected about 50 masks from six continents.

The first mask cost me about $10 in Kenya in 1995, while my brother splurged on a $40 one. As we continued collecting, our unofficial guidelines became that a mask had to be bought in the country of origin and cost less than $40. However, I quickly blew past that second stipulation as I gathered masks of camel bone, gourd, ceramic, turtle shell, bamboo, seashells, feathers, fused sand, blown glass, woven cloth and various woods.

Papua New Guinea and Africa are well-known treasure troves for masks, but I also found masks in unexpected places such as Romania and Mauritius.

Recently confined by COVID fears and bored, I was staring at the masks on my walls and thought, “Why not have some fun with this?” So I put COVID masks on the masks.

Each mask has its own story, and this “masks on masks” project was a great way to revive many wonderful travel memories.

Fullerton, CA