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As the pandemic forces us to wear face masks to protect ourselves and others, artists have taken an innovative, vibrant path into their interpretation of masks. Fashion designers and creatives across the world have added designer masks as part of their collection, giving the wearer a chance to pick and choose.
Here, we meet a few Saudi based creatives. These two female Saudi designers have used their artistic background to infuse creativity on the now mandatory face mask.
Naba AlDalal and Nasiba Hafiz, two Saudi designers from Jeddah, produce and sell their creations.
With a degree in Fashion Photography and Styling from the London School of Fashion, she created a visionary fashionista name for herself in the fashion world. In 2012, she founded her brand 'Nasiba Hafiz' and experimented outside the ordinary. Even with the pandemic, she manages to uplift her customer's spirits by creating fashionable designs. Her "Fashion Face Masks" take on different themes such as the Star Wars theme masks bringing joy and individuality while paying homage to the classic mega feature film. Other designs include the Shumakh (or ghutra traditional headwear) designed face masks capturing traditional patterns. Nasiba's creations offer a jolt of color and identity among the now typical scene of covered faces.
Naba AlDalal, a brand created by a Saudi designer, took a different turn in creating her creative face masks. With her brand offering clothing, the spread of COVID-19 changed her brand's course. She now produces face masks that allow customers to customize them to their preference. They can pick the color of strap, size, and adorn their masks with decorative metal pins, plastic flowers, or animals. The customizable face masks allow customers to have fun to express their individuality. Naba's approach also encourages kids to adorn their face masks with their choice of colors and decorations. This method not only helps children enhance their creative skills but also encourages them to wear protective face gear. Being safe is crucial in our changed way of life. Since children could have a hard time understanding the vitality in taking precautions, Naba's method of customizable face masks allows children to adapt to the new norm
As well as these Saudi designers, Alia Al Farsi, an Omani artist, has had her face mask design included by UNESCO, with 250 designs across 120 countries. The initiative intends to improve global social responsibility and awareness about COVID-19 by encouraging people to wear masks. Alia Al Farsi is a world-renowned artist who has had her work displayed in several landmarks. She designed her masks to send the message of staying home, being close to and surrounded by loved ones.
Among the online UNESCO exhibition, UNESCO searched for an artwork that presented hope, and they found it in the work of a talented Saudi artist and calligrapher, Mohammed Salem Ba-jnaid. He had used his skill to create elegant Arabic calligraphy. He uplifts the spirit of Holy Quranic verses with unique Arabic calligraphy. His painting of the Ka'aba door was sent to the United Nations, where it hangs at the UN office in New York. Sadly, Mr. Bajnaid had passed away on October 13, 2019. Still, to celebrate his work, UNESCO chose his Arabic calligraphy as a design for a face mask from Saudi Arabia
Film director, Sultan AlAskari, designed and drew face masks and gifted it to women interested in drawing and crochet called Al-Qatt Al-Asiri. Al-Qatt Al-Asiri is a Saudi female traditional interi-or wall decoration that is represented on UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hu-manity. AlAskari utilized social media to share images of his face masks. This amassed populari-ty for his traditionally designed work and a homage to tradition in a modern setting.
With face masks to stay, for now, we expect to see more and more creative takes on the masks as it is always a human desire to want to stand out and wear something meaningful.