Inspired by Cherokee booger masks and similar masked dances practiced by Chikashsha ancestors, this Abikoppolo’ Ishshoka’ Holba’ (Covid Mask) is informed by ancestral Chikashsha oral traditions in which animal spirits were known to cause all physical ailments and maladies. In opposition to these malevolent animal spirits stood the plants that provided cures for all animal diseases.
The mask is carved in northern white cedar with traditional hand and modern rotary tools, inlaid with buffalo horn eyes and mouth, with attached whitetail antlers and copper ears pools, referencing the famed deer man mask unearthed at Spiro Mounds, and painted in artists oil colors.
This sculpture is my vision of the physical manifestation of COVID-19, a virus evolved in animals that jumped hosts into humans, reimagined in the tradition of southeastern Native wood carving.
Northern white cedar, buffalo horn, copper, copper ring nails, whitetail antlers, artists oil colors