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Handmade Portraits: Yevgeniya’s Masks

Nov 22, 2011

by asnateribena

MP4 | YouTubeVimeo | | Subscribe in iTunes

(Music by Distordeon)

Yevgeniya Kilupe, a Holocaust survivor and self-taught artist, started making masks to supplement her pension after a life of working in the factory. Around six years ago, artist Christine Jurjane discovered Yevgeniya and her otherworldly masks at a market and immediately recognized Yevgeniya’s talent. Christine introduced Yevgeniya to Linda Luse, the owner of Galerija Istaba, and they soon put on an exhibition of these fantastical papier mache “characters” to wide acclaim, eventually supporting Yevgeniya to open her very own Etsy shop.

Asnate Ribena is a video artist based in Riga, Latvia.


  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 9 years ago

    Wow. Just wow.. beautiful masks, amazing craftsmanship; this is what handmade's all about :)

  • EFaceDesigns

    EFaceDesigns said 9 years ago

    Very cool masks and great story... : ^D

  • auntjanecan

    auntjanecan said 9 years ago

    Cool! I love masks!

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 9 years ago

    Such amazing work!!! Beautiful! =)

  • JulieWhitmorePottery

    JulieWhitmorePottery said 9 years ago

    moving, gorgeous, beautiful masks and maker.

  • mythunderstood

    mythunderstood said 9 years ago

    Love your masks!

  • fantasygarden

    fantasygarden said 9 years ago

    I love her masks and i have one

  • everythingok

    everythingok said 9 years ago

    Such an inspiring story and beautiful work. This made my heart smile.

  • Krystyna81

    Krystyna81 said 9 years ago


  • BrooklynUnicorn

    BrooklynUnicorn said 9 years ago

    Very inspiring!

  • maggiesraggedyinn

    maggiesraggedyinn said 9 years ago

    Amazing story! Meeting these people from all walks of life is what makes Etsy so interesting.

  • jamiespinello

    jamiespinello said 9 years ago

    Congrats on the feature!

  • pineconevintage

    pineconevintage said 9 years ago

    I love these masks and the story behind them. Very inspiring.

  • FireflyPuppets

    FireflyPuppets said 9 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this amazing story! One of the reasons I got into puppetry was because the power of masks moves me so much. Masks have life, and stories, and their own sense of self. These masks have a beautiful transformative magic. Thanks again for sharing!

  • LaurelCanyonBeads

    LaurelCanyonBeads said 9 years ago

    what a beautiful portrait, thank you for sharing this story. Very inspirational and moving!

  • Harem6

    Harem6 said 9 years ago

    Beautiful, so much imagination and power ! We loved seeing Jevgenia !

  • jodyvanB

    jodyvanB said 9 years ago

    What a lovely woman with an amazing life. I find it so fascinating, seeing how things are made, and interesting that she likes doing people's faces most, because they can show emotion. Thank you for sharing this. Sometimes, when purchasing handmade, you forget about the moments of hardwork and love that have been put into an item to give it a life of its own.

  • decembermoondesign

    decembermoondesign said 9 years ago

    An unforgettable story and woman. Thank you.

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 9 years ago

    Great work!

  • tugboatprintshop

    tugboatprintshop said 9 years ago

    wonderful! stunning masks & great video interview with the artist! thanks so much for sharing!

  • AdoroMe

    AdoroMe said 9 years ago

    Gorgeous masks!!!!

  • MelissaBeeArtDenver

    MelissaBeeArtDenver said 9 years ago

    These are great!

  • scarletbegonia11

    scarletbegonia11 said 9 years ago


  • adrianaallenllc

    adrianaallenllc said 9 years ago

    I loved this short movie; I loved the story. It makes me reminiscent of years long left behind. Yevgeniya is so real to me. It is amazing how times change. She, as many of us, grew up and lived in a completely different world, some might say - a completely different universe, and look at us now. That applies to most of us out there, I think; not only those who knew what it was behind the iron curtain, but just about anyone who was alive when internet did not exist or world borders were still an important obstacle. It s truly awesome how our lives have hanged and keep on changing.

  • RivalryTime

    RivalryTime said 9 years ago

    Very neat.

  • manicarteest

    manicarteest said 9 years ago

    I've been growing fond of masks this last month. Here's an excellent example being able to do what you love. Great masks great story.

  • thelittlemarket

    thelittlemarket said 9 years ago

    amazing craftsmanship!! Fabulous story!! thanks for sharing!!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 9 years ago

    Wonderful talent! Great masks!

  • AnnTig

    AnnTig said 9 years ago


  • Betmens1990

    Betmens1990 said 9 years ago


  • RossLab

    RossLab said 9 years ago

    What an amazing story and talented woman! My best regards to Yevgeniya.

  • therainyside

    therainyside said 9 years ago

    I enjoyed this story very much and am browsing her wonderful masks in her ETSY shop now...

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 9 years ago

    Yevgeniya’s work is wonderful. A true artist.

  • bedouin

    bedouin said 9 years ago

    Moving and beyond ~*~ fantastic gem etsy !!

  • couldbeeyours

    couldbeeyours said 9 years ago

    wow these are awesome! very creative :)

  • wmalexalvarez

    wmalexalvarez said 9 years ago

    This was awesome. Thanks for the post!

  • TastefulThings

    TastefulThings said 9 years ago

    wonderful masks! I love masks, when I wear those -they free up my inner secrets that i keep to myself and help me make dare moves! Happy Thanksgiving! Love your posts!

  • VoleedeMoineaux

    VoleedeMoineaux said 9 years ago


  • Jevgeniamasks

    Jevgeniamasks said 9 years ago

    Beautiful, Thank you!

  • HoneyThistle

    HoneyThistle said 9 years ago

    This story is heartwarming :)

  • feltstories

    feltstories said 9 years ago

    amazing love it :)

  • erinswindow

    erinswindow said 9 years ago

    Thank you Asnate for finding Yevgeniya, her story and her touching work. The film is beautifully created and I watched it over and over. I love the masks and... I somehow wish Yevgeniya was my neighbour as I'd like to get to know her better and maybe if permitted, visit and watch her make these masks sometimes...(strange wish?!) As someone wrote earlier she is so "real" to me too. Wish her much success and happiness!

  • traceydumont

    traceydumont said 9 years ago

    Beautiful :))

  • leslieholz

    leslieholz said 9 years ago

    Takes me back to making papermache snowmen with my mom and siblings at Christmas time and filling them with candy to take to Granny's house to let all the cousins attack and then dive for all the candy. Fun stuff!

  • CloudCuckooLand

    CloudCuckooLand said 9 years ago

    Very nice, thank you for sharing

  • DelilahsAttic

    DelilahsAttic said 9 years ago

    that is so cool! my sister makes masks too. These are beautiful works of art :)

  • xiangwuchen

    xiangwuchen said 9 years ago

    Amazing ! ! ! !

  • zakonek

    zakonek said 9 years ago

    So creative and beautiful! Love the attention to details...

  • fabfashion

    Handmade and Vintage Treasures from fabfashion said 9 years ago

    Beautiful piece! thank you for sharing! She reminds me of Seraphine the French Naive artist. gorgeous.

  • wolden

    wolden from wolden said 9 years ago

    What a wonderful video! I bet she would like to see my husbands masks at on YouTube. He is 82 and makes really great masks that are very happy indeed. He would love to chat with her.

  • mariashacreaw

    Maria Shacreaw from StarlightBags said 8 years ago

    What a wonderful thing to share! These masks are incredible! This made my day.

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