Sunday, 8 December 2013

Strut Your Stuff in Piazza San Marco - Venice International Mask Contest - UPDATE

Sekhmet - Egyptian Lioness Goddess of War & Healing
(Venice, Italy) Sekhmet was Upper Egypt's warrior goddess, as well as the goddess of fire, vengeance, healing and medicine, so she was one busy lady. She has the head of a lioness, wearing the solar disc and Egyptian cobra called an uraeus, and has the title "The One Before Whom Evil Trembles." Sekhmet is an example of a face mask you could create for the Venice Carnival 2014, La Natura Fantastica, which is open to "all the artists and artisans coming from everywhere."

A month ago, I initially wrote about the contest, giving details and background. For those of you who missed it, please have a look:

First International Mask Contest - Venice Carnival 2014 - DEADLINE JANUARY 15, 2014

Mask by Kartaruga - as seen in Eyes Wide Shut
The official website has been updated (if you can find it), and once again the English is a challenge to decipher, but I will give it a shot.

1. This is the very First International Face Mask Competition at the Venice Carnival. Venice always has a costume contest, but this contest is sponsored by the Venetian mask-makers, and is solely for the face mask itself.

2. The contest is open to everyone all over the world. You can use any material you like, and any technique you wish. 

Leather macaw mask from Brazil by Marcílio Barrow
3. The theme of this year's Carnival is "La Natura Fantastic," which I described in the post above, which, again, you can read by clicking HERE. So any mask that fits into that theme is acceptable, which is why I thought of Sekhmet -- she has the head of a lioness, which, I suppose is more suitable for a jungle than a forest, but since we are in Venice, and the symbol of Venice is the Lion of San Marco, I thought the Lioness of Egypt was a nice balance. Sekhmet has a sweet counterpart that is not so ferocious named Bastet, who came from Lower Egypt, and has the head of a cat. 

Bastet from Lower Egypt
Goddess of Cats, the Sun & the Moon
4. After you make your mask, you must:

          a) take at least three color photos of your creation.
          b) give your mask a title.
          c) write a short description about the material and the technique used to        
              create it, and the cultural and artistic significance of the mask. 

Vintage Chinese Wooden Dragon Mask
5. The deadline to submit your entry is JANUARY 15, 2014. Email your entry to: with a copy to

Paper Jiminy Cricket Mask circa 1939
6. The panel of judges will be the Artistic Director of the Venice Carnival, a representative from the Compagnia dei Mascareri and other members of the cultural world. They will choose no more than 20 finalists by JANUARY 31, 2014. 

These finalists will then be responsible for sending their mask, at their own expense, to Venice by February 20, 2014 to the following address:

Castello, San Lio 5653/4

Papier Maché Ganesha mask from Nepal
7. And then, CARNIVAL!!! On Monday, March 3, 2014, there will be a Prize Ceremony in the Grand Theater in Piazza San Marco in which all the finalist masks will parade on stage during the Venice Carnival. The creators are welcome to wear their masks during the ceremony, cheered on by thousands of adoring fans, in the greatest drawing room of the world. If the finalists are unable to come to Venice, their mask will be worn by an actor. 

Gran Teatro di Piazza San Marco - Carnevale
8. Out of the 20 or so finalists, three winners will be chosen: the Grand Prize for "La Natura Fantastica," plus two Special Mentions, one for the mask with the best workmanship and material, and another for the best plasticity and facial expression. 

9. The Grand Prize is a two-day stay in Venice for two people during the Regata Storica on September 7, 2014, Venice's water regata of ancient boats and costumes, with a place of honor in the "machina," the grandstand on the water that seats all the VIPs. A visit to a the workshop of Venetian mask-maker is also included.

Regata Storica
The two Special Mentions will also receive a two-day stay in Venice and a visit to a Venetian mask-maker, but not with all the pomp and circumstance of the Regata Storica. The trip must be taken by January 2015.

What is not clear to me is if the prizes include transportation. Since it is Sunday as I write this, there is no one to contact, so, dear readers, I will have to update this once again in the future. 

10. The three top masks will be donated to the City of Venice. The other masks can be collected within 3 months after the Prize Ceremony on March 3, 2014.

For further info:
e- mail and/or
phone: + 39 041 5299203

Again, here is the LINK to the page with the instructions if you would like to try to decipher the rules yourselves.

Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. The creators are welcome to wear their masks during the ceremony, cheered on by thousands of adoring fans, in the greatest drawing room of the world.