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Art: A Global Language Amidst COVID-19

By Israa Abdallah

The primitive man used art as an indication of his development and progress. S/he portrayed his daily habits and expressed his fears, aspirations, and beliefs through inscriptions on the walls of caves. S/he was masterful in decorating their utensils and tools. They also mastered the artistic designs of clothing depicting periods, eras and affiliations to specific geographical areas that used art as a means of expression.  

Following the announcement of the World Health Organization of the Coronavirus as a global pandemic, countries rushed to take precautionary measures to mitigate the repercussions of the pandemic and to overcome such a state of perplexity. Lockdown went into effect as well. As a consequence, isolation prevailed with everyone staying and quarantined at home and overwhelmed with an aura of anxiety, fear, and situational depression. However, we, thanks to our human nature, did not let such a gloomy atmosphere, where cities had fallen silent, overtake us through art and creativity. 

During the crisis, more creative and artistic manifestations were unleashed. Who among us has not witnessed the violin’s melodies resounding from a balcony in Italy amid applause from the neighbors or the party that was organized on the roof of one of the buildings in Egypt? Who among us did not smile when he/she saw the graffiti through which young people tried to raise awareness of the crisis and of the urgency of wearing a face mask using optimistic phrases and happy colors? Young people boosted the morale of medical professionals by drawing graffiti depicting them as heroes and building memorials in many squares around the world. 

The turmoil had an impact on the artistic designs as those who got infected with the novel virus used drawing or photography to express their pain until they recovered. In addition, musicians created beautiful music videos to raise awareness of social distancing, while other artists used satire to alleviate crises and urge people to adapt by taking appropriate measures.

Given that medicine acknowledges the role of art in curbing the pandemic, medical professionals did their best to entertain patients by singing and dancing. As it has been the case in Egypt, volunteers rushed to perform creative acts in front of hospitals to show their support and encourage patients to be stronger and persistent.

In the world of fashion design, the mask has become a work of art in and of itself. Many people worked hard to design masks with a wide variety of materials as well as charming embroideries. It has become an essential item of apparel. Outfits are designed with the appropriate mask for it. In respect, business owners in various fields, such as sport clubs, have made face masks part of their uniform.

Art has demonstrated that as diverse as languages can be, our human nature is one. We are merely humans who cannot survive in solitude. We thrive in sharing our homes. We are always happier when there is harmony and solidarity is promoted. Singing can encourage us and paintings can inspire us to keep going.