Statement for Claudia Alick’s Art Project “WHY MASK?”

Welcome to “WHY MASK?” the thought-provoking art installation by Claudia Alick. By provoking thoughtful consideration and raising awareness, this project transcends political divisions and emphasizes the significance of safeguarding one another during times of crisis. It serves as a testament to the resilience of humanity and the capacity of art to challenge prevailing narratives and inspire positive change. Through WHY MASK?, we strive to create safer and more empathetic art spaces for all.

In 2022, Claudia Alick, Maia Millslow, and Tinu Abayomi-Paul initiated the Million Mask March in response to the concerning politicization of safety equipment during a global pandemic. This unfortunate phenomenon has resulted in the erosion of public trust and hindered efforts to promote collective well-being. Our Million Mask March was ironically titled after The Million Mask March done in 2020 that was anti-masking but everyone wore Guy Fawkes masks. Our online movement aimed to reclaim the significance of mask-wearing for COVID safety. Participants courageously shared photos of themselves wearing masks and provided compelling testimonies, shedding light on their motivations for embracing this crucial protective measure. The “march” took place in livestreams with audience dialogs and scrollingt hrough all the participant photos. Through the power of collective action and storytelling, the “march” sought to counteract the harmful narratives and biases surrounding mask usage and give us hope in other people.

What is WHY MASK?

Building upon the momentum of the march, Claudia Alick’s 2023 art project invites theaters and galleries to actively engage their audiences in a profound exploration of the WHY MASK? concept. In a time when many institutions and individuals have discarded COVID precautions, disregarding the concerns of the immunocompromised, it is imperative that we recognize the impact of such actions on accessibility and inclusivity.

Within the installation, a simple sign stands as a catalyst for introspection, bearing a prominent QR code that poses the question, “why mask?” This code leads visitors to a dynamic digital site, where a gallery of striking photographs showcases individuals wearing masks while sharing their personal stories and motivations. Visitors are encouraged to participate by uploading their own photos and narratives, contributing to a collective dialogue on the importance of mask-wearing.


Join us on this transformative journey as we navigate the complexities of a world profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, let us embrace the power of art to foster understanding and compassion, ensuring that safety remains a universal priority in our collective consciousness. Post your photo with a hashtag that specifies where you are coming from. Access WHY MASK through this link or the QR code below.

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