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By Aashriya Dinesh and Tamara Benarroch

"The mask is a commentary on identity and how exoskeletons are made for figurative and literal protection. The spider is symbolic in many cultures, with some seeing it as a good omen and other bad. I wanted to represent this by the black and white contrast. More than the identity being altered or hidden I want viewers to be able to understand that it is ones perception of the piece that dictates which is the good and which is the bad. Moreover , with the help of Tamara, I wanted to create an otherworldly, mystical feeling to the shoot. This is can be seen with the accents of gold and silver. 

I was able to create the mask from plaster cloth to fit each of our amazing models unique faces. Not only was the material able to mold to the skin but it was lightweight and breathable. The structure was supported with wire throughout the piece and used to connect the mask to the face. The stone in the middle of each of the masks are Black Onyx sourced from Mount Shasta in California. Onyx is known as the “stone of protection” and it is believed to ward off negative energy and attract good luck. It is also said to help you develop self confidence and willpower, qualities I associate with my own identity. The symbolism of having an onyx in each is a reminder that just like the spider there is a duality of good and bad in each of us, and just as we need light we need shadow."

- Aashriya Dinesh

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