The Masks


Name: Brian

City: Windam

Brain Injury: TBI from car accident 10/04/2000 

Explanation of Mask: The paint represents the “mess.” Black represents the injury to my head. It is a hole. Red represents blood and the blue sadness. Red is also pain. Now I am a photographer.  My camera is my shield, it keeps me away from people. Having a TBI- art is a good way to express my feelings.

Name: Carole

City: Cape Elizabeth

Brain Injury: I sustained a brain injury in a car accident in 1999. 

Explanation of Mask: My mask depicts the journey to accepting my new self after brain injury.  The bottom is black, representing the darkness of my early years.  I was in denial about my limitations.  I couldn’t see what I couldn’t do.  The words denial and lack of awareness are hidden in the black to represent that.  As I became aware how much I’d changed, I grieved the loss of my old self.  It didn’t seem like I’d ever be happy again.  The gray-green of confusion gradually lightened to the yellow of acceptance.  I found new avenues of meaning and purpose.  I am living with a disability, but I will always reach for the stars. 

Name: Debbie

City: Portland

Brain Injury: 1951- Stroke and Spinalmeningisis at 6 months old  

Explanation of Mask: When I was growing up, I had difficulties in school. I couldn’t see like other kids, I saw things upside down and backwards. I was lucky, since I had so many surgeries they never asked me to go up to the blackboard, so no one found out until junior year in high school. The squares represent my book keeping teacher who helped me and gave me extra classes. The sparkles are my tears because of how I used to be sad I wasn’t like other kids. The spot is my hesitation; I have a hard time walking and hesitate often. The green is the blackboard, the red is the part of my brain that is upside down. The yellow on my mask is my positive side, and the pink is me looking forward and keeping my chin up.

Name: Hilary

City: Sanford

Brain Injury: Closed head injury and post concussive syndrome due to a propelled accident off of my horse in 2006.  

Explanation of Mask: My mask portrays the dark grey, black and blue matter that occurred with accident. The brain injury created dark shades of my life being lost. I lost my job, my horse, horseback riding would be no more. I lost the ability to play my flute and the friends that went along with those activities in my previous life. I lost my peripheral vision making driving limited to daytime within 10 miles of my house on a good day. The red tear is for gratefulness, the green drops are the hopes I create. My mouth is closed because I often feel underheard especially by medical and disability systems. Out of this injury I have learned to create art and write about the experiences of loss and how hope lives within these happenings. My book, “Reinventing Oneself After Loss, An Artful Insight”, are represented with the orange spots of coming back to life with purpose and hope.

Name: Karen

City: Portland

Brain Injury: Stroke on April 4, 2010

Explanation of Mask: My stroke left me with brain injury, aphasia, and balance issues.  Everything I used to know, reading, writing, and talking – I had to relearn.  I had to go one step at a time.  It took a long time to get back to my creative projects like reading.  It took me 5 years to be able to sign a check and aphasia still raises its head sometimes.  This was a 7 year journey, a strong faith and a lot of tools helped me to walk out from the darkness and shine.  My mask is like a patchwork quilt, it includes textures, patterns, shapes and colors.  This is my new life, and I am a new person.  Acceptance was hard, while denial was easier.

Name: Lisa

City: Hollis

Brain Injury: Fall 2010- Hit head on concrete floor. 

Explanation of Mask: My mask represents a journey that started dark and confused. At times I felt wasn’t present. A lot of people said I looked just fine but inside my head was scrambled eggs. The glitter on the left side represents the feeling of the injury, there was a blood sac but there was no bleeding. Through rest and therapy over the years, I started to see the light and let happiness in. My journey continues, even though I still have past symptoms, happiness outshines sadness. The flowers and jewels are about how I do a lot of outdoor gardening, and I have a lot of grandchildren who are jewels in my life. The pink and purple are my granddaughters favorite colors, and I like purple as well.

Name: Paula

City: Windham

Brain Injury: VST stroke; resulted in residual left-side weakness, short term memory challenges, sensory sensitivities.  August 2006

Explanation of Mask: My mask represents the challenges that I still face; I often describe my brain as a snow globe; I know that the parts and pieces are there but I have to wait for the snow to settle to find them.  When I become fatigued, the sensations of numbness and tingling return to my left side.  Sometimes I have to remind myself to stay calm and that some of the changes are for the best.  For the most part I am upbeat and have found new ways to do the tings that mean the most to me. 

Name: Priscilla

City: Bittyford

Brain Injury: Arm/Stroke 8/23/2010

Explanation of Mask: I lost my peripheral vision. They had to drill into my skull and a plate in my skull. My head is all fuzzy often times. I tend to be weepy. I have a smile but I hick it the black because it is not a true smile. I hide my smile because I feel overwhelmed and not always able to give it back, “Always taking”. At least I am able to get around by myself. I can walk and put thoughts together. I can care for myself.

Name: Rorie

City: Portland

Brain Injury: March 2008 – A TBI from a fall in my driveway

Explanation of Mask: My mask is mostly green because it is my favorite color and because I like to garden.  The grey area at the top right is my brain injury.  The green stuff around the grey area represents my fuzzy thinking.  The glitter around my brain injury is the “Blessing in disguise.”  The line down the middle represents my midline shift and my left side neglect.  I chose gems because that is why I have my service dog, Zeva.  Her name means brilliance and gems.  The X’s on my nose is because I lost my sense of self.  The orange heart represents his loving care that surrounds me.  The things on the heart, like the shamrock, represents my luck in having Ross, my husband.  He is the sun and moon to me.  The pink tear is my loss.  Purple around my right eye is a lens because I have a whole new view on my life.  The fabric on the mask reflects my love in quilting.