People who visited the nightclub Riche in central Stockholm one evening a few weeks ago got a bit of a surprise. A gang of young women and men paraded up and down the street close to the club wearing knitted gas masks in various colors. Was this a political statement of some sort? Had a strange doomsday cult from Belgium or San Francisco invaded the Swedish capital? No, the masked women were engaged in an art/fashion happening arranged by Jasmine Idun Tova Lyman.
Inside the club, singer Ida Long from Gävle was performing some of her tunes. Icelandic signer/songwriter Björk had been awarded the Polar Music Prize earlier in the evening, and Riche was the designated venue for the after-party.
Jasmine Lyman made her first knitted gas mask in 2007 inspired by a plaster mask she made in high school, but it just gathered dust in her closet. People who looked at a photo of the mask told her she was onto something cool. So she began to make more under the brand Idun Design.
How people interpret the masks is up to the observer, but they seem to be some sort of a symbol. Jasmine Lyman’s interest in symbols is not only artistic; she has studied archeology in Reykjavik and Gothenburg. Those studies have provided an understanding of how different religions and rituals reflect human psychological needs and perceptions of life.
Jasmine Idun Tova Lyman’s knitted masks have been exhibited at the School of Photography and Arts Atalante in Gothenburg, as well as Carneval in New York. In New York, she developed her gas mask project into a series of films. The artist, who also creates costumes, designs fashion, dances and performs with fire, recently moved back to Sweden following a long sojourn in the Big Apple. Now, several film projects are high on her agenda.