The nine oversized masks investigate the nature of individualism. Fascinated by the relationship between image and authenticity, Siba designed a series of wooden masks entitled Persona. the open structure of the nine wearable sculptures covers only parts of the face, while leaving the rest unveiled. This form allows the masks to stimulate communication while simultaneously creating distance.
Depicting cultural identity through digital self promotion is a relatively new phenomenon, but it is through our selection of digital self portraits that we strive to find the ‘right’ balance between group identity and personal expression. With her series of nine masks, Siba reflects on the shifting relationship between authenticity and image, between the public and the private. Her masks question what kinds of ‘things’ we are as people in the digital age. The open structures of her architectonical designs allow an interplay of faces and facades. The masks are made out of 18mm thick balsa wood and consist of up to eleven CNC-milled elements that are arranged in a layered composition. The sculptural objects are finished with a light blue coating and measure up to 60 cm in height.
The title Persona refers to the millennia-long practice of wearing physical and metaphorical masks. Derived from Latin, the term ‘persona’ was originally used to refer to a theatrical, wooden mask. Extending from these origins, it has taken on many different cultural and social meanings. Western psychiatry describes persona as the social face the individual presented to the world and C.G. Jung described it as “a kind of mask, designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and on the other to conceal the true nature of the individual”.
Due in large part to social media, and the increasing communication and representation of ourselves through our faces, the 21st century can be described as the ‘era of the face’. The face has become a way to express cultural identity and, in the context of online social platforms, users extend this expression to the creation of a virtual persona.
Siba Sahabi is a German-Iranian designer. She creates installations, sculptures, objects and films. through her work she explores and reconstructs the meaning of cultural identity. Siba is interested in how relationships around us determine who we are as individuals in our community, and how this ‘mould’ of our cultural identity changes when we are exposed to multiple cultures at the same time.
Siba translates her research on cultural identity into contemporary design through an interpretation of forms and concepts. She creates a wide range of centrepieces—from limited edition designs to large-scale installations and art in public space. Parallel to her artistic practice, she develops concepts and designs products for various labels such as Pols Potten and Rosenthal.