We’ve all seen them: the face masks that now litter our world thanks to health regulations during the pandemic. It is, quite frankly, gross, and Vancouver-based fine art photographer Michelle Leone Huisman has decided to do something about it.
Global Pandemic is her statement on the two pandemics we are currently facing: COVID-19 and a second more insidious accumulation of waste produced in response. In the fall of 2020, the world used 129 billion disposable plastic masks every month, or three million masks per minute (source: World Economic Forum). Pairing the darker side of these two pandemics with playful childhood themes, Global Pandemic hopes to illuminate the collective consciousness that links the health of our planet with the well-being of our children, while remembering the folklore produced in previous times of societal distress.
“Over the past year, I have [safely] collected only some of the masks that I have seen on the streets and sidewalks. They are everywhere! Some are probably ones that people have lost, though I suspect many of them are ones that people have just thrown into the street. While discovering more children’s masks on the streets and sidewalks in the spring of 2021, inspiration struck. I found myself contemplating the hopeful, the playful, and rejuvenating side of springtime contrasting against the scourge of this pandemic waste—discarded children’s masks nestled amongst a patch of daisies, a bunch of buttercups, a bed of grass.”