African men and women wearing protective face masks decorated in brightly colored acrylic yarn are the subject of a new collaboration between Pierre Le Riche, who created the masks in Cape Town, and photographer Nonzuzo Gxekwa, who photographed them in Johannesburg.
Entitled The Mask Project, the series is being added to the exhibition at THK Gallery, Cape Town, which continues until 29 August.
Cases of Covid-19 in South Africa have been increasing by more than 10,000 per day, with the total fast approaching 500,000. The artists say the models were photographed bare-skinned to emphasize our myriad vulnerabilities during the pandemic.
‘I do feel there is an anthropological element to this project as this is a new way of being where masks are part of everyday life,’ said Nonzuzo Gxekwa. ‘Twenty years from now someone will find this work and it will tell them of this time.’