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The University of Manitoba campuses are located on original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Ojibwe-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the National Homeland of the Red River Métis. More

The Essentialists Exhibition

Artwork Gallery

Screenshot featuring crystal face masks, and models
Screenshot from website featuring crystal face masks and models
Photograph of red crystal face mask
Photograph of crystal face mask

Artist Statement

Artist Name: Anam Hasan Feerasta

Title: I Shop Therefore I Am

Medium: Squarespace (digital media), borax, pipe cleaners and food colouring

Year: 2020


Artist Statement:

My work explores the humble medical-grade mask. As the object of consumerist ideals, how does the mask promote the accumulation of non-essential goods at the expense of our environment? These disruptive ideals have reduced the purely functional protective equipment of COVID-19 to a mere fashion accessory. Although reusable, the fashion face mask has no functional value. The title, “I Shop Therefore I Am,” borrowed from Barbara Kruger’s work, questions the need, purpose and utility of such an object. The fashion face mask exists solely to inflate our ego while using already depleting resources for its production and consumption. 

By glamorizing masks made from household cleaning supplies, my work takes on a satirical approach to marketing gimmicks ​that encourage conspicuous consumption with the promise to make us look and feel good during the pandemic. These gimmicks incentivize our reliance on objects to define us and construct an image of ourselves for the world.