Carson High students find inspiration for Mardi Gras masks |

Carson High students find inspiration for Mardi Gras masks

Teri Vance
Photos by Shannon Litz/Nevada AppealCarson High freshman Madison Garraway models Gabriel Kinkead's Jamaican ritual mask Thursday during presentations in art class.

To create the project for his art class at Carson High School, Robert Abundis, 15, had to revive some old skills.

“I took a home (economics) class in eighth grade,” he explained. “That’s where I learned to sew.”

He used the needle and thread to sew a panda face for the assignment in Mike Malley’s art classes to create Mardi Gras masks. Students presented their work Thursday.

Classmate Madison Gariway, who modeled the panda mask for Abundis, said his handiwork made the end product seem authentic.

“When I was wearing it,” she said, “I’m not gonna lie, I kind of felt like a panda.”

History, literature and social studies were masked as art in the assignment.

Students had to research a culture at least 100 years old then create a Mardi Gras-style mask to reflect that culture.

Some researched ancient cultures, like the Greeks and Romans.

Others barely made the century cutoff, like sophomore Branden Wagner who paid homage to Harley-Davidson with his creation.

Inspiration also came in different forms.

Susie Peregrina, 15, chose a mythical creature that can be traced to several cultures throughout history.

“Unicorns are my favorite animal,” she explained.

Andres Olivaras, 16, chose a more modern theme of professional wrestling, which began in Mexico about a century ago.

“I was watching wrestling, eating pizza and buffalo wings, and it just came to me,” he told the class.

Students also identified a theme to their work.

Darian Sheldon, 17, described her replica of a World War II era gas mask made from leather and metal as “dark” and “self-protection.”

Junior Allicia Blake’s theme with her Venetian masquerade mask was more light-hearted.

“People used to wear these masks and go out and party,” she explained. “They wore them so they could flirt and have affairs and people wouldn’t know who they were.”

It was a theme more appealing to the students.

“It sounds like my kind of culture,” a classmate blurted out.

Luis Avila, 16, blended ancient culture with current events in his mask depicting King Tut.

“I think it’s nice,” said classmate Hannah Novak. “Egypt is in crisis right now. It’s nice that he’s thinking of them as he’s making his mask.”

Students will continue their presentations of masks made from wood, metal, papier mache, cloth and other materials today. Their work will be displayed next week in the Carson High School library.