San Miguel De Allende - Mexico : We Mexicans live behind masks of our own creation, even if in these portraits they are more a symbolic gesture of futility than protection.

Masks have long been a part of our cultural history, from the Lucha Libre masks to those worn for a La Danza de los Viejitos, a traditional folk dance from the state of Michoacan.

They are like a garment that protects our vulnerabilities and allows all of us to express ourselves.

The city of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, where we live, was quick to enact a strong response to coronavirus and, as a result, the city has one of the lowest case rates in Mexico. But its citizens, already economically battered, have been depleted by the pandemic.

A young construction worker, preacher and butcher wear masks that are representative of the tools used to make a living, liberate us, and to fix things. A versatility born out of hardship and necessity.

In a year where everything has been turned on its head, there appears to be nothing out of the ordinary about wearing a mask made of chicharron, a tin heart or the husk of a tamale.

There can be beauty in resistance.

The World Students Society thanks authors Russell Monk and Valerie Mejer Caso. [Russel Monk is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and fine art photographer.

Valerie Mejer Caso is a Mecican poet, visual artist and translator. She is the author most recently of  ''Rain of the Future,''  ''This Blue Novel'' and Edinburgh Notebook.'']


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