September 25, 2020

What really lies behind the masks?

Sheila MacNeill, 52

As we transition out and back into lockdown, face masks are becoming part of our new normal. I see them everywhere. On people in the shops, on the streets, on the buses as they drive by me, increasingly on the ground. The blue and white of disposal masks dominates. Disposable masks litter the ground around me everywhere I go. I see them abandoned on the Forth and Clyde canal towpath on my daily walks. I wonder why people don’t understand the difference between disposable and degradable. I wonder how long these masks will be present in our environment. I am shocked when I learn that it will take hundreds of years for the plastic and elastic to degrade. I despair at our lack of respect for our environment, whilst simultaneously marveling at the beauty of plants adapting to the man-made, fast food rubbish that is strewn around them. This image is made with a disposable mask. I printed with it creating patterns representing the canal and towpath. I dissected it to build texture. I threw the colours of fast food chains at it, expressing my anger at the veneer of personal safety disguising the environmental disaster that faces us.

Masking the canal (1), 2020Mixed media on board62 x 52 x5 cm (framed)