St. Croix artist Danica M. David’s “Mask Mission” project is presently featured at “Awareness through Conceptual Art and Photography,” an online exhibition at X Gallery in New York City. The exhibition features pandemic art and is part of a permanent online collection reflecting one of the world’s most difficult times.
This came about when David shared her artwork and “Mask Mission” project on her Instagram page. Adrienne DeLoe of Pandemic Self Portraits saw her post on Instagram, and DeLoe shared it with Lisa DuBois, a curator at X Gallery in New York City.
“I feel so honored to be a part of this exhibition. I just wanted to serve others in my community; this was an unexpected surprise,” David said. “I was inspired to donate masks because my late grandmother, Esther E. Davis, was a kitchen employee at the Virgin Islands Department of Education for 30 years. Additionally, my late great-grandmother, Asselita Fleming Wyatt, taught me how to sew clothing at age seven. In my book, ‘Creative Callaloo: Art, Poems, and Recipes Inspired by the Virgin Islands,’ I share my fondest memories of my late grandmothers through Virgin Islands art, culture, food and history.”
David started her Mask Mission project during the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in April. She prayed for an idea to assist others. Her prayer was answered when she remembered that she had a sewing machine at home. After that, David began sewing cloth face masks and donating them to various non-profit organizations.
She wanted to donate specifically to the Virgin Islands Department of Education kitchen and custodial staff. Kitchen and custodial personnel are essential workers who David calls the “unsung heroes” of the Department of Education.
Thus far, she has donated to these essential workers at St. Croix Educational Complex High School, St. Croix Career and Technical Education Center, Pearl B. Larsen Elementary School, Ricardo Richards Elementary, John H. Woodson Junior High School, and the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix.
David’s masks are sewn with the Virgin Islands’ cultural madras fabrics and Ankara or African wax fabrics. Over the months, her friends, Sayeeda Carter, Winifred “Oyoko” Loving, Makeda Kamara and Verdia Smith, have donated Ankara fabrics to this project. Additionally, Khnuma Simmonds of My Girlfriend’s Closet boutique highlighted her “Mask Mission” project in August during The National Girlfriend Day Girlfriendism Campaign.
There are two styles, the pleated and 3-D designs. To assist with this project, she also sells masks. The majority of sales assist with mask production. “By assisting others in this way, I hope to share love, joy and peace amid COVID-19,” David said.
For more information, contact Danica M. David at www.creativecallaloo.com/mask-mission.
View the people photos.