CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (WHDH) - For most people during the pandemic, masks became a necessity for everyday life. For a group of art students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, they became modern canvasses.

Department of Architecture Professor Azra Akšamija’s students were tasked with creating COVID19 masks that reflected their experiences.

“Students learn how to articulate problems they see in the world and issues that we are facing,” she said. “And to communicate that and translate that through their designs.”

For some, like undergraduates Felix Li and Caleb Amanfu, it was about directly addressing important cultural and social issues.

“Making a mask to address anti-Asian hate felt really fitting,” said Li. “It forced me to quite literally face the pain and grief of the past year.”

“The idea of being seen and not heard. There are systems in power that have the ability to take away voices from individuals,” Amanfu said. “Maybe inspiring them to start making changes in any way they can.”

Eva Smerekanych used her mask to call attention to issues with health.

“I’d like people to see my mask and learn more about the serious nature of having an eating disorder,” she said.

Izzi Waitz chose to highlight the impact masks have on the environment.

“My message is be more aware of the waste we are creating, especially in the pandemic,” she said.

The group’s work is on display in Venice, Italy, as part of an international architecture exhibition.

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