Big Heads on the March
by Myra Saturen; photos by Patricia Canavan,
"This show is brought to you by the letter G, for greed," said a Northampton Community College (NCC) student speaking the words of Big Bird, as portrayed by Justyne Kosinski, who wore a huge mask of the Sesame Street character. Her costume, festooned with "million dollar bills," represented the children's show move from PBS to HBO, where expensive subscription costs will remove it from many poorer children's TV screens.
To draw attention to social issues such as this or to simply illustrate a favorite entertainment character, students participating in the College's "Big Heads and Big Ideas" parade marched on campus in big multi-media masks they had made in Professors Bruce Wall's and Doug Zucco's Principles of 3-D Design class. At Lipkin Theatre, the costumed students, muffled by their masks, had other students read what they had written.
Dorian Rhodes drew attention to the Black Lives Matter movement and injustice against African Americans through a mask in the shape of a ballot box.
Melissa Rivera donned a boxy television with pictures from the "I Love Lucy" show to picture the change technology has brought.
Politics made an appearance in the guise of a Bernie Sanders mask.
Environmental concerns figured prominently. Ashley Badesso wore an elephant head mask to protest poaching of these animals in Africa. Other masks expressed the theme of preserving animals endangered by human activity. Among the wildlife represented were seahorses, bees, rhinoceri, and octopi. Some masks and speeches revealed inhuman practices in the raising of chickens and the treatment of horses. A large ear of corn made by Cody Aberachinsky illustrated the misuse of corn ethanol for energy. A Frosty the Snowman alerted viewers to the retreat of glaciers caused by global warming.
Other themes included depression, genocide, education, and many others.
The winner of the 2nd prize, as judged by an informal panel, was Christina Bauer, for a mask representing nonconformity. First prize went to Milagros Morales-Santiago for "Man in the Mirror," representing the famous Michael Jackson song extolling looking at oneself as the first step in improving the world.
See more photos here.