In Asbestos’ work, he explores the meaning of masks and how powerful a symbol they are. The word ‘persona’ comes from the tradition of Greek theatre, where an actor covers their face with several different masks, so they could change persona. In this way, he explores different persona with each mask created or each exploration of what masks mean. In this case, he’s showing individuals unmasked after two years behind a ‘blue barrier’.
Welcoming the unveiling of the installation on the St James’s Hospital campus, CEO of St James’s Hospital Mary Day said: “The staff members portrayed in the ‘Unmasked’ mural are representative of all St James’s Hospital staff, and indeed all of our healthcare workers nationwide, in recognition of their tireless efforts, courage, determination, expertise and compassion in providing healthcare services to patients and families during the pandemic.”
“St James’s Hospital Foundation has been proud to engage with The Creative Life Hub at the Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing here at St James’s Hospital to use the arts to support hospital staff wellbeing and boost morale. Through this support, we have witnessed first-hand the benefits of the arts on staff wellbeing. ‘Unmasked’ honours the strengths and vulnerabilities of our frontline staff and allied healthcare professionals who gave their utmost during the pandemic, and continue to do so. For this, we are eternally indebted to them,” commented Dermot McEvoy, Chairman, St James’s Hospital Foundation.
“As an all-of-government wellbeing programme, Creative Ireland recognises the power of the arts in healthcare settings. The HSE’s Mental Health Promotion Plan will strengthen the role of arts and creativity in the promotion of mental health and wellbeing for healthcare staff. I can think of no better example of putting policy into practice than this wonderful initiative. This is just a small gift from Creative Ireland to say thank you to all staff of St James’s Hospital for all they did during COVID-19,” said Tania Banotti, Director of the Creative Ireland Programme.