The mask project inspired the kind of stirring inner reflection and beautiful expression that YALA Peace is all about.
I gave the girls blank theatrical masks and we took some time to try them on, look around the circle at the hidden blank faces, and feel wild inside of our protective covering. We talked about what it felt like to be behind the mask, the thrilling moment of being able to do whatever you want behind it, and then the frustration of not being able to show yourself, your nuanced and multilayered self, behind one stiff mask. We talked about the masks we wear, the different personas we present in different environments of our daily lives: at school, at home. We even talked about the larger masks we present as an identity throughout our lives: child, daughter, good...
One of the girls, Yara, described her daily mask and her inner self as "white and black" - polar opposites, the outside tight and the inside wild, as she gestured with her hands chaotically. She used words to describe her inner self like "free" and "scream".
We did a free-write and then each girl painted her mask. Using watercolors, they also painted explorative abstract pieces to represent their true selves.
The pieces they created are stunning: