Beacon Project

Self-Portrait (In-Between)

This series of Self-Portraits explore identity through sculptural and video projected masks of the artist's face.

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Miya's masks are three-dimensional self-portraits. Here she presents 7 selected masks, 3 of which are video projections. Each mask is varied yet recognizably consistent throughout; resembling her face but representing a 'shifting' of perspective, either through the physical appearance of the masks or by the movement in the video projections. Miya has deconstructed 4 of the masks- cut into pieces and then reattached, intentionally mis-aligned resulting in distorted portraits of herself. The other 3 masks are animated by video projection loops, projected directly onto 3-dimensional forms of her face, becoming hologram-like 'moving masks'. Two of the projections are videos of her face with different expressions and motions- edited and spliced into sections like some of the masks around them. A third projection is an animation 'effect' of breaking glass looped onto one of her collaged photo-masks. All together the masks play off each other and present multiple iterations of her 'self'.

She is drawing from the traditional uses of masks worn for disguise, transformation and protection, and as symbols for persona, self-image and identity. Ironically, she is placing her face on the front of the mask even though the purpose of masks is to conceal her face behind it. Because Miya's masks are photo-realistic, she can then change and manipulate how you see her. Each one is created by dissecting, distorting and reconstructing her image, as a way to explore different facets of her identity- specifically duality stemming from being mixed race and concurrently, the predominant feeling of being 'in-between'. She is also examining the space within defined margins; where beauty turns into the grotesque and where the outer persona shifts inward (public vs private) and vice versa. By keeping her image a constant, she is able to further explore her heritage, experiences, perceptions and inner world, making these visible, tangible and wearable.

Almost everyone now knows what it feels like to wear a mask and how important it is to see each other's faces and expressions. Each one of Miya's masks is an exploration of identity with the intent to encourage viewers to see “beyond” the masks that we all might be wearing, in more ways than one. She is exploring the tension created when the surface does not speak the same truth as the underlying form, and the visceral reaction, even unintentional, one might feel when seeing a face that consists of distortions. Miya invites viewers to stare as long as they wish, well past the point of rudeness. She implores viewers to consider these faces as if they were all her own, perhaps questioning why different masks might evoke a different response. As a group of self-portraits, she hopes the viewer looks deeper and sees a part of her (and ultimately themselves) in all of them, or perhaps 'in-between' all of the masks.

Family Friendly Illuminated Installation