Sean - Einstein Medical School, Bronx, New York

When I started working on my mask, I began by thinking about health and how it impacts the way we live our lives—how our health and livelihood is intimately associated. There are so many variables that impact our lives, which we often take for granted or are completely unaware of no matter who we are or where we come from . This led me to start to thinking about the ancient, classical components of our existence: water, earth, wind, and fire. At the bottom of my mask I began with water and then earth emerging from it with grass and flowers. Eventually the earth meets with fire and the result rises up into the sky where the wind blows. There’s an ascendency from fluid to fixed to fleeting—moving from the immediacy of our experiences to something that is vaster and more transcendent. That’s why I chose to depict the cosmos at the top of my mask. The things I wrestle with on a daily basis are so small, but the forces that shape me are often large and inconceivable. So, underlying all this, I decided to depict a skull. Bones give us shape, hold up our bodies, and provide us the mechanical hardware to interact with this world. They coalesce with our bodily tissues to generate the higher order functions that ultimately manifest as our individual existence. A true phenomenon. Some of it can be influenced, much of it cannot. We don't get to choose who we’re born to, where we come from or, for that matter, our own names . Our identities are more constrained than we often consider, which is humbling, and I believe health is the same way. It’s a journey of profound emergence, and that is what I wanted to represent with my mask. I wanted to evoke the deep contemplation that resonates within me when I think about my life, my health, who I am, and the world I experience while I’m still here on this earth.