Love Allergy Mask, 2015
Purchased by DePauw University
Shojono Tomo, whose name means “Eternal Child,” is a Japanese artist whose artistic practice embraces humor and child-like wonder to address deeper Japanese cultural phenomena. Although she designed costumes for Nicki Minaj from 2011 - 2013, she considers herself an artist first and fashion designer second. Shojono Tomo often uses fashion as a canvas for her art, making it more accessible and interactive to wider audiences.
Mask-wearing customs in Japan existed long before COVID-19, originally deriving from Shinto rituals and festivals. Love Allergy Mask comments on the formal social etiquette expected in Japanese public spaces. In addition to preventing the spread of illnesses in Japan, masks protect wearers from the pollen-induced seasonal allergies many Japanese people have. Face masks ensure individual protection, but also raise barriers for human interaction, personal expression and intimacy. Shojono Tomo’s Love Allergy Mask is an adaptation of Japanese customs that invites dialogue and displays creative expression.