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Masks We Wear

Save A Life - Talk About It.
Masks We Wear – a project of the Mission Overdose Community Action Team

Open dialogue is a critical step in addressing the overdose crisis. The numbers of overdose deaths reported in the media represent sons and daughters, parents of children, loved ones who have been torn from the fabric of their families.


Stigma is “an attribute or quality which ‘significantly discredits’ an individual in the eyes of others”. The stigma associated with substance use has a large part to play in this terrible loss. Stigma often masks the opportunity to see individuals, “unmasking” people who use drugs allows us to see the whole person. Substance use is not the defining characteristic a person.

"Masks We Wear" is a community arts dialogue that explores the faces we present to the world and those we perceive others wear. Beneath the mask shines our collective humanity. Throughout August 2020, leading up to International Overdose Awareness Day, August 31, the Mission Overdose Community Action Team (MOCAT) hosted a series of mask making workshops. The sessions were facilitated by community artist and MOCAT project coordinator Kat Wahamaa.

"Masks We Wear" was displayed by downtown Mission businesses and organizations for International Overdose Awareness August 31- September 3., then exhibited at The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford September 10 to October 28, 2020. The mixed media artworks were created by 48 community members from age 17 to 72, many with lived experience - including family members, service providers, and others with a desire to learn more about this opioid health emergency. The sessions generated thought-provoking pieces and, through exhibition, invites the whole community into dialogue. Masks We Wear was coordinated with funding from the Community Action Initiative.

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