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Monday, Sep 21, 2020

Masks hold images of pandemic, Hong Kong protests

Masks hold images of pandemic, Hong Kong protests

In one of Edmond Kok’s creations, a 3D visualization of a spiky coronavirus bursts out of a face mask. Another mask uses a plastic takeout container to remind people of the environmental cost of food deliveries.

A design inspired by a Thai temple symbolizes people missing their favorite holiday destinations because of travel restrictions.

A Hong Kong actor and costume designer, Kok has had little theater work during the pandemic but found creative opportunity in the now-ubiquitous face mask.

He has crafted more than 170 masks inspired both by the pandemic and Hong Kong’s political problems.

They’re not worn as illness prevention but as pieces of art.

Kok’s creations also address fears in Hong Kong that China is taking away the greater freedoms that residents of the territory have compared to the mainland. Under a new national security law, people have been arrested for displaying or chanting slogans deemed as advocating independence from China.

A mock gloved hand covers one mask, illustrating the struggle to express one’s voice freely. A security camera represents a fear of surveillance, and eyeballs, a fear of being watched or censored.

“I really want to document different things that happened in our lives,” he said.

After the pandemic ends, Kok hopes he and others will revisit their experiences through his masks. He has posted photos of them on Instagram and other social media platforms.

Edmond Kok, a Hong Kong theater costume designer and actor, is making a face mask at his studio in Hong Kong Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. With little theater work because of the coronavirus pandemic, Kok has found a way to turn the now ubiquitous face mask into a creative opportunity. Since February, he has created more than 170 face masks inspired both by the pandemic and Hong Kong’s political problems - not for actual use but as pieces of art.

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