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A protester wears a face shield made of recycled plastic bottles by artist Leeroy New during an anti-terror bill rally in Metro Manila, Philippines
A protester wears a face shield made of recycled plastic bottles by artist Leeroy New during an anti-terror bill rally in Metro Manila, Philippines Copyright Aaron Favila/AP Photo
Copyright Aaron Favila/AP Photo
Copyright Aaron Favila/AP Photo

In pictures: how COVID-19 face masks are becoming canvases for self-expression

By Natalia Liubchenkova
Published on Updated
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While face masks have been mandatory in some parts of the world to combat the spread of coronavirus, people are using them to be creative as well as keep safe.

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As the saying goes, the show must go on. As the spread of coronavirus slows and the world settles into a "new normal," the wearing of masks in most countries is recommended or has become mandatory in certain instances, for example on public transport.

For some, it is a bare necessity for venturing outside of the home safely. For others, however, masks have become a canvas for self-expression, with people transforming them into works of art or fashion accessories. Others are using them to make a statement, be it a political message or a showing of support for a cause - or just to raise a smile.

Browse through our selection of photographs below showing how masks are being used creatively around the globe.

NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP
A woman poses with a protective facemask reading "I can't breathe" during a demonstration against racism and police brutality in Bordeaux, FranceNICOLAS TUCAT/AFP
JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP
Karin Hildebrand, a doctor in an intensive care unit in Stockholm's Sodersjukhuset hospital, wears a protective face mask during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemicJONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP
Aaron Favila/AP Photo
A protester wears a face shield made of recycled plastic bottles by artist Leeroy New during an anti-terror bill rally in Metro Manila, the PhilippinesAaron Favila/AP Photo
JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP
A pedestrian wearing a form of personal protective equipment as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, walks across Oxford Street in London, the UKJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP
KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP
A waiter wears a protective face mask with a picture of her face, in Lodge restaurant. Brussels, BelgiumKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP
BRUNO FAHY/AFP
A woman wears a mouth masks with a transparent window for deaf people who do lipreading. Brussels, BelgiumBRUNO FAHY/AFP
JUAN BARRETO/AFP
A municipal worker wears a face mask and shield at the Bosa neighbourhood, one of the areas with the high rate of COVID-19 cases in Bogota, BoliviaJUAN BARRETO/AFP
Czarek Sokolowski/AP Photo
A photographer wears an unusual protective mask against coronavirus made from a paper bag, in Warsaw, PolandCzarek Sokolowski/AP Photo
Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci wears a face mask featuring The Washington Nationals (a professional baseball team)Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP
Protester wears a face shield made of a plastic box during a "Black Lives Matter" vigil in the Queens borough of New York City, USAJOHANNES EISELE/AFP
ARUN SANKAR/AFP
A man adjusts a face mask with his face's image printed on it as other face masks are hung behind. Chennai, IndiaARUN SANKAR/AFP
ROBYN BECK/AFP
Bill Wyatt wears a 'Donald Trump face mask' in his shop. He has transformed his topical tee shirt business to a topical face mask business. Los Angeles, USAROBYN BECK/AFP
WANG ZHAO/AFP
A woman wearing a face mask and a hood crosses a street in BeijingWANG ZHAO/AFP
ESTEBAN COLLAZO / Argentina's Presidency Press Office / AFP
Argentinian president Alberto Fernandez wears a face mask with the map of the Malvinas/Falklands Islands (Sovereignty over the islands is disputed by Argentina and the UK)ESTEBAN COLLAZO / Argentina's Presidency Press Office / AFP
IBRAHIM AMRO/AFP
Lebanese protesters, wearing protective masks in the colours of their national flag, pose for a selfie during a protest against deteriorating living conditions. LebanonIBRAHIM AMRO/AFP
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