A Qatar Foundation alumna is on a project of making face masks out of scraps and recycled fabric to reflect on human solidarity amid the current pandemic of Covid-19. For Lauren Morell, a graduate of the Class of 2020 with a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar ( VCUarts Qatar) - a Qatar Foundation partner university - the practice of wearing face masks sparked the inspiration behind her three-piece art.
“People are turning this harsh event into a time of reflection, to reach out with help, to make better choices for a better tomorrow. With that being done, they are committed to wearing face masks, making a solid statement about equality – that we are all in this together, and we will walk out of all this together,” Morell noted.
Morell, who is a Latin American from Los Angeles is currently working on three frames for face masks. Each of them holds a statement that reflects her feelings and the message she wants to send out to the world through her art. “To me, fashion has always been my enabling tool,” she says. “It isn’t just tailored garments you see on runways. To me, fashion stands for communication and self-reflection.”
“The name, ‘We Come in Style’ which I chose for my three-piece artwork, was inspired by the fact that despite all the anxiety, stress, and depression people are experiencing everywhere since the beginning of the pandemic, they are choosing every day to fight back in their own ways,” Morell explained. Morell maintains that the mixture of emotions she faced through the pandemic could have brought her down, but she didn’t allow those thoughts and feelings to get to her.
“I decided to use my skills in honing those feelings into an artwork that speaks my heart and mind. I started working on ‘framed’ portraits of face masks, for its resemblance of human solidarity and responsibility in the light of this global crisis. I started gathering all the upcycled fabric I’ve had left over around my studio and decided to communicate an emotion of happiness and celebration of a global phenomenon through the vibrant upcycled scraps stitched together to form those masks.” She described.
Morell’s three framed portraits are all made of 100% cotton and upcycled linen – scraps of fabric that she had scrambled up to make the masks. Each of them will contain a slogan. The first reflects ‘Equality’, the second ‘We Come in Style’, and the third is a portrait of the fabric scraps bundled up together in the context of “we are one, we are all in this together”.
Morell has been living in Qatar for nine years. She expresses herself as a “third-culture kid”, who lived a nomadic lifestyle, jumping from city to city and never actually having a place to call home. And this has left a big impression on her beliefs.
“Growing up, culture, diversity, and equality have always been my main inspiration, and continue to be so,” she explains. “This means I have never been disconnected from global and local events. Caring for the community has always been something I pursued, and what we are witnessing in the world today strengthens my faith in caring for the society and even for global issues such as protecting the environment.”
Aside from her art project, she is intending to make reusable, washable, and breathable masks from leftover fabric, that will be 100% cotton, to make sure her community is staying safe every day.