There’s a story behind every mask and behind every mask there’s a person, a person that’s been touched by brain injury.
Unmasking Brain Injury is an international movement and, through the coordination of the Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA), Ontario became the first province in Canada to participate. In 2018, more than 1200 masks were distributed to brain injury survivors from 26 participating brain injury associations/partners across the province. Additional masks were sent out in 2019 and 2020, bringing the total number to more than 2200 masks created in Ontario.
Brain injury happens in an instant and lives are changed forever. The numbers are staggering, according to Ruth Wilcock, Executive Director of the Ontario Brain Injury Association. “There are close to half a million Ontarians currently living with acquired brain injury (ABI) and more than 45,000 new cases will be added every year, states Wilcock. “This number does NOT include the 155,000 new concussions that occur each year in Ontario”.
Yet, brain injury continues to be misunderstood and is often referred to as the invisible disability. Through the unmasking project, hundreds of people living with brain injuries are making the invisible, visible by unmasking their stories through an artistic display of masks that represent their personal journeys.
Photos of the masks and descriptions from the various Community Associations/Agency Partners around the province can be found below. These masks are also available to view on the Unmasking Brain Injury site, along with masks from all over the world, making this a truly international movement!