At Large  July 2, 2020  Charlie Pogacar

7 Artistic Takes on Protective Facemasks 


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a wide berth of destruction with it: sickness, death, and the first worldwide recession in over a decade. Add into the mix the surge of social unrest fueled by police killings and systemic racism, and there’s a reason #2020istheworst has trended on and off since the year started. 

On the other hand, some beauty has slipped in through the cracks in a testament to the idea that some of the greatest traumas produce some of the best art. In addition to protest art seen around the world, creative facemasks seen on social media and at protests are bringing inspired art to troubled times. Here are a few examples.


A post shared by BBL Family Enterprises (@bbl_family_enterprises) on

Protests have been held en masse as those rallying are demanding justice on behalf of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black Americans killed at police hands. Protestors have so often been wearing face gear with slogans like “Black Lives Matter” and "I Can't Breathe" stitched into the protective masks.


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It felt like almost immediately after a shortage of masks was announced in mid-March, thrifty and crafty types turned lemons into lemonade by creating homemade masks that would suffice. Some went above and beyond.


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One would have to imagine Frida Kahlo would support the many social justice movements being carried out across the world in 2020. Perhaps she’d be touched by these custom-made masks that seem loosely based on her 1938 self-portrait, The Frame.


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There’s nothing that says “2020” quite like an emoji facemask. Fun fact—the plural of emoji is technically emoji (though both emoji and emojis are now acceptable).


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What’s the saying—”the show must go on”? Those that planned weddings for 2020 never could have imagined how tenuous that would be. Here’s an Egyptian bride turning something awful into something beautiful.


It’s difficult to say which gets more points—the mask or the photo shoot. Also, are we sure this is a medical mask, as it purports to be? Either way, this black plague-inspired mask is well done.


A post shared by Mary Anne Carter (@jesusmaryannejoseph) on

Remember—it’s punk rock to wear a mask. Don’t believe me? Ask this lady.

About the Author

Charlie Pogacar

Charlie Pogacar is the Custom Content Associate Editor at Journalistic, Inc. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Abby, and boxer pup, Frankie.

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