Launched in April 2020 #10MillionMasks is a grassroots campaign that has mobilised thousands of South African volunteer mask makers across the country to manufacture and distribute cloth face masks, made from donated fabrics, for free to the many South Africans who are unable to afford this essential item. No one gets left behind. The #10MillionMasks campaign aims to harness the power of shared skills, resources and community ingenuity to ensure that every South African who needs one, has a mask.
We are huge fans of the work of #10MillionMasks, whose generosity we experienced earlier this year when we approached them to assist us with masks for the children of the Three2Six School, catering to refugee communities in Johannesburg.
In July 2020 #10MillionMasks launched the new The Art of Kindness campaign, partnering with South African artists to create a special range of masks that are also unique artworks. Under the tagline ‘wear what matters’ the campaign launched with ten young sneaker artists using the blank canvas of a cotton mask to create a unique once-off artwork.
Digital copies of these unique ‘art masks’ are then created and sold through the #10MillionMasks online store at R70 each, with the proceeds being split between the artists themselves and #10MillionMasks. In 2021 the entire collection of original art masks will be sold as a single unique collaborative artwork recording this incredible time that we are living through.
As they work on their mask design each artist records their thoughts on three questions; why kindness counts, why masks matter and why they chose to get involved, creating a starting point for further collaboration and evolution for a new series of masks.
The first ‘circle’ of art mask makers all come from a background of streetwear and sneaker designs, and the next groups of makers who will expand the art masks collection include artists with a background in embroidery, graffiti, tattoos, illustration, make-up, fine art, ceramics, beading and comics.
The first collection of art masks is now on sale on the #10millionmasks website where you can also read the artists’ thoughts on the campaign and the importance of kindness in a time of corona.