Discover Quarantine Art, now surfacing on social media to raise spirits

From inside drab monotone shutter windows, an old man and his granddaughter spread colour. The bearded man plays his violin and the girl, a banjo. Beneath the window, it seems as though paint is peeling off the wall. But on closer inspection, it reveals itself to be a world map.

“This one’s for the world,” reads the caption.

Putting a fresh spin

Inspired by videos of Italians singing on balconies and spreading cheer during a tough period of national lockdown, this painting was put up by Adrian, a 20-year-old student from Bucharest, Romania, on his Instagram account (@ayepixel).

Over the past couple of weeks, as the world practises social distancing to fight the pandemic of COVID-19 and many countries go into lockdown, artists have taken to Instagram in droves. Accounts of ‘Quarantine Art’ have started surfacing on social media. These collate artwork revolving around the pandemic from different countries. Some give out information, others a much-needed dose of humour.

For Adrian, the issue is immediate: his parents are in Milan, Italy, while he is under lockdown with his grandmother in the Romanian countryside.

“My parents have been living there for 14 years, and I talk to them almost everyday. They shifted there to sustain our family. My dad is in the delivery sector and he still has to go to work, transporting stuff from one place to the other. He is taking all the measures he can, to keep safe,” says Adrian.

Art for him, is a way to keep his head up. “Even if these are hard times, we need each other more than ever,” he says, adding that he also tries to speak up about the discrimination against Asians during this period. “That’s an inhuman way of thinking; this hate is not the way to resolve things.”

Hate isn’t, but laughter just might be.

Smishdesigns, a graphic artist based in Mumbai, (who prefers to go by her account name for the creative freedom it offers) has taken a brief break from her political illustrations to help the world laugh their worries away.

Over the past week, she has been reimagining characters from classical paintings in the current times. Mughal lovers embrace — but with masks on. Her rendition of Raja Ravi Varma’s Urvashi and Pururavas has the celestial nymph flying away from her beloved human king in a mask. “Social distancing” she says.

Discover Quarantine Art, now surfacing on social media to raise spirits

Discover Quarantine Art, now surfacing on social media to raise spirits

“I mostly do political art, but I thought it would be insensitive to keep doing that, and take digs at people, in a moment of crisis. People are going through anxiety, so I felt it was my responsibility to address it and maybe bring some humour out,” says Smishdesigns.

However, she does also address issues like the enforced feeling of isolation and unnecessary overstocking of basic supplies. One of her works, ‘The monopoly of the hand sanitiser’ has a man selfishly clinging on to one all for himself.

“I’ve been to so many pharmacists that have run out of sanitisers because people are overstocking,” says the 32-year old, who lives in one of the epicenters for the pandemic in India — Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Nearby, in Pune, is graphic artist Rushabh Jadhav, who is also using his account @glitchbook to give the virus a face and body. The 20-year-old recently put up a #drawthisinyourstyle challenge, and artists from India and Europe have responded. While underlining that social distancing is important in the current scenario, he adds that it hasn’t really affected him negatively, as an artist. “Being alone at home won’t stop me from making art, rather it will help me dig deeper and stay productive,” he says.

In the time of corona

Another motivating factor is the simple reason that this is the buzzword everywhere right now, including in the global artists community. An artwork with the trending #coronavirus is more likely to be picked up by the Instagram algorithm.

Discover Quarantine Art, now surfacing on social media to raise spirits

However, these young artists try their best to toe the line between what’s creative and what’s sensitive. Delhi-based Divya Baid’s (@thedreampalette) painted N-95 mask, for example, turned out to be a hit.

The navy blue and inky black masks have a tongue-in-cheek ‘Shut Up Corona’ painted across a night sky. “I have this habit of painting whatever I see lying in front of me.”

Despite people asking if these custom-made masks would be on sale, she has decided not to go ahead with that. She says, “I thought about it a lot, but I did not feel good about selling a mask. People are dying out there, and I don’t want to make money out of it.”

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 8:26:57 PM |

Next Story