A charitable face mask project is literally putting smiles on people’s faces – and famous ones at that.
Acclaimed artist Ron Arad has teamed up with the Ostro Fayre Share Foundation to produce a series of face coverings that feature the smiles of well-known figures, including Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale, Marilyn Monroe and Salvador Dali, as well as beloved works of art by Matisse and Picasso.
At least £1 from each one sold will go towards the project’s Smile For Our Carers campaign, which aims to raise funds for frontline workers contributing towards the fight against Covid-19.
A host of already famous faces, including Stephen Fry, Jason Isaacs and Natasha Kaplinsky, proudly wore the masks to help launch the range, alongside vital key workers, including postmen and refuse collectors.
The team behind the coverings, which are available on Amazon from early next week, carefully selected a manufacturer that is not involved in supplying personal protection equipment (PPE) to frontline workers, so as not to affect the NHS supply line.
Speaking from his home in north-west London, Arad said he wanted to use “the power of art to help in this terrible crisis” and revealed he had been working on a new piece for the Royal Academy summer show, which involved a car covered with woven fabric, until lockdown halted the project.
The 69-year-old Israeli-born artist said: “In a way, I stole the idea from myself. Instead of covering the car with a drawing of the car, I came up with covering a face with a drawing of a face.
“All the museums and galleries are closed as well, so why not put the art on the masks and let’s just make people smile?
“When I walk with one of my masks in the street, people from two metres away tell me how much they cheer them up.”
Maurice Ostro, philanthropist and chair of the Ostro Fayre Share Foundation, said buying face coverings such as these, rather than “frightening” medical masks, would go a long way towards easing demand for PPE, as well as helping raise much-needed funds.
He said: “We can’t spend our lives hiding behind doors. We need to get back into our communities and our businesses.
“Our aspiration is that we put a smile on people’s faces. It is a frightening time, we’re not hiding that and wearing face coverings is not ideal, but we can make it as nice as it can be.
“But we also want to get across the message that we are not wearing these to help ourselves, we are wearing them to help others.
“While protecting other people, we can put a smile on their faces and at the same time raise money for carers.”
For more details, visit https://smile4ourcarers.co.uk