The wooden carnival mask is a common element in many carnival expressions on the Alps from Switzerland to Slovenia.
This modern and “globalized” society presents a tendency to cultural uniformity, thus setting aside all the individual original expressions of a cultural heritage and the identity of small communities. This is the reason why enhancing the wooden carnival mask will help us in preserving our roots; at the same time, this would help a confrontation with different and original experiences and would encourage in being open-minded about them. The wooden carnival mask carries a deep meaning. It is used to hide or to perform a rite. It is the expression of what we are willing to be or not. It is the grotesque deformation and the research to overcome nature’s boundaries. It is the expression of a carver’s creativity. So, we have gathered together all the wooden mask carvers and we have let them meet as well as confront their experiences and techniques. By doing this, we have helped them in enhancing their knowledge and supporting our cultural identity in a concrete and creative way. Not only do wooden masks stand for our personal work, but they are also parts of a ritual and feast belonging to a culture, which is the wealth of community’s local traditions.
These local initiatives, which are aimed at promoting the carnival and the carnival mask, often focus on tourism or, in any case, they may not resist our flattening culture. Thus our aim is to promote awareness and common engagement in order to preserve everyone’s special features. At the same time, we are willing to be a unified, creative, self-supporting movement, well aware of its intrinsic value. The Association of Alpine Wooden Mask Craftsmen gathers all wooden mask carvers who have been passionately devoting themselves to the traditional wooden mask carving. The association is also aimed at involving other similar experiences on the Alps into its activity.