Nirmal Raja

Feeble Barriers
video documentation of installation
(101 hand embroidered and machine sewn masks with exaggerated ties suspended from ceiling in a site specific way with a custom sound installation. Quotes from healthcare workers were solicited and hand embroidered)
cinematography by Sitora Takaneav
music by Janet Schiff

Fragility and Feebleness has become second nature to us these days. But some experience this more acutely than others. Viewing the COVID 19 virus as the “great equalizer” has quickly been revealed as a farcical idea. The masks we wear have been ripped and the ugliness within has been revealed. Our healthcare workers, first responders and essential workers continue their jobs with danger lurking at every turn. They face each day not knowing if they will continue to be the same that night. They bear witness to horrific situations of life and death, suffering and survival in their raw “unmasked” state. Most of the quotes in this body of work have been sourced either directly from a healthcare worker though a “call to participate”. Some of them have been sourced from publications online and in print.

The mask has become a symbol for many conflicting ideas today- protection and consideration for others but also fear and partisanship. This thin piece of fabric has become a fault line where political identities are determined when it should simply be what it is- a feeble barrier against a pandemic. Many stories are being written on it- some about last breaths, some about courage and valor, some about love, some about inequality, some about survival, some about the ripple effects of COVID 19. Feeble Barriers is a record of our times as seen through the eyes of health care workers as we battle a mysterious monster in the dark.

artist’s website

© Nirmal Raja