The Seattle Urban Sketchers met yesterday at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture on the University of Washington campus. Among the museum’s collections are masks representing the cultural heritage of the Americas, the Pacific Islands, and Asia. This is the Kwakwaka’wakw transformation mask, depicting an eagle, that is believed to be the inspiration for the original Seahawks logo from 1975.
Masks have been used for millennia in the rituals and ceremonies of different cultures. Here are a few examples from the Burke Museum’s collection.
Drawing objects presents different challenges than when sketching buildings and environments. Instead of depicting forms in space and spatial relationships, we are tasked with capturing both the three-dimensional form of a mask and its unique expressiveness, whether the mask is intended to disguise, protect, or entertain.