One of Sundari’s designs for 2020 involved creating ornate plague doctor masks. (📸: @kickassdesigns; Mask pattern from Vex FX)
How did you get involved with the folks at Weird Portland United?
It was amazing to know I was nominated for a WPU Keep Portland Alive award. I had known about the nomination — and I felt really blessed. I was making these masks for the community to stay alive, and that was it — I wasn’t charging anything or trying to get anything out of it. I was just trying to keep people alive. And to know I could possibly win a grant — I had never won anything so part of me was like, “What?”
It touched my soul in a very special way that THIS is what community is about. You get back what you put out into the universe. And you don’t always get it back the way you want, or you think you will. I’m pretty sure I cried (when I heard the news that I had been nominated) and felt very special. When the first round was determined, I was informed that I hadn’t won the first round, but Weird Portland United reached out and told me “don’t worry, there is going to be another round, and I am really pulling for you.” To have someone in my corner who valued me — even a stranger — it felt incredible to have someone pulling for you.
When I learned I had won in 2020, I cried again. I was at a point in my art where I needed that kind of support and funding. I had started a boutique in December and I was putting down money on a lot of festivals, but I wasn’t seeing a lot of return on that. It felt like the world was crumbling for everyone.
To be blessed with the award money — I was able to put that back into making masks for people, and it helped to continue the work I was doing.
For more pictures and the rest of our interview with Sundari, including what Portland weirdness means to her, follow this link. You can find Sundari on Facebook, Instagram, and support her work on her Etsy page.
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