I Care About You exhibition of hand-painted masks in Muswell Hill

PUBLISHED: 12:37 06 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:37 06 July 2020

an NHS mask made by Emma Franks in the window of La Dinette in Muswell Hill

an NHS mask made by Emma Franks in the window of La Dinette in Muswell Hill

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Local artist Emma Franks has taken positive inspiration from the face coverings we are increasingly encouraged to wear

Masks made by Muswell Hill artist Emma Franks are on display in the window of Claire Jury's La Dinette in Fortis Green with an invitation to raise money for a range of charitiesMasks made by Muswell Hill artist Emma Franks are on display in the window of Claire Jury's La Dinette in Fortis Green with an invitation to raise money for a range of charities

Muswell Hill artist Emma Franks has taken positive inspiration from the face masks we are increasingly encouraged to wear.

Her hand-drawn and hand-sewn masks are on display in the window of Fortis Green cafe La Dinette featuring messages thanking the NHS and saying ‘I Care About You’.

The mother-of-three endured a worrying lockdown with a husband working at North Middlesex Hospital, while she was taking extra care because of a health condition.

“My husband is a doctor working on the frontline at one of the first hospitals to get Covid cases, and I take arthritis medication which lowers my immunity, so we locked down early,” she said.

“It has been a really stressful period and a long haul. I was sewing masks for the NHS and felt I really needed to do something art-related.

“Claire from La Dinette said I could do a little exhibition in her window when she opened up three weeks ago. It was good to support such a lovely independent cafe.”

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Franks, who usually paints figurative oils, examined her own discomfort about wearing masks.

“Many people don’t feel comfortable wearing one, it’s so hard to read people’s expressions - you smile at someone but can’t see if they are smiling back.

“In this period where we have needed each other and helped each other, wearing masks seems the opposite. We have become so close and yet so distant and wary of others.”

But it was Franks’ husband who pointed out that “you are not wearing it for your own protection but to protect others”.

That led to the exhibition ‘I Care About You’ and a request for those who enjoy the window display to donate to several charities including Haringey Pram Depot, Black Lives Matter and Refuge.

“The masks are not for sale but I think they have a hopeful message and I hope people think about the words and donate.”

She is now seeking other shop windows to display her work.

Contact her on instagram at emmafranks24


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