With hearts growing heavier each day, empathising with fellow brothers and sisters who have been impaired by the current pandemic, with hands joining in the spirit of perseverance, reaching out to each other by the fingertips from at least two meters away and between, how are the artists of our times manifesting this unifying and/or disconnecting act? This forced isolation has engendered a plethora of incredibly unique art. More even so by the fact that a large portion of it casts a high definition image of what it’s like for an artist on the inside, from the inside.

Let’s call it a virtual renaissance because, for one, the internet has been imbued with a new and universally necessary function: human contact, the means by which we propagate our daily effort so as to feel relevant. A creative platform initiated by Rossella Farinotti and Gianmaria Biancuzzi for instance, is called “Coloring Book”, a virtual platform filled with various artist’s line drawings as contributions to whomever would like to print them and colour them at home. Collaboration has taken a new meaning.

For the ones who prefer the stance of spectator, for the fervent followers of art, the world has not fallen short of current art accessibility. To make up for the losses of not experiencing the art face to face, cancelled events such as Alserkal Art week has gone out of its way to simulate the most life-like experience of a fair through virtual means: a 360 view, high-definition rendering of over 80 galleries in one programmed user-friendly map.

Putting all interactivity aside, let us take a moment to observe what has become of the artist in the face of his hermitage. There has been a small yet popular wave in the field of photography. Artists like Traer Scott for instance, have reverted to a modern domestic interpretation of still life photography. The objects in their compositions include elementary products such as toilet paper, hand sanitiser and objects that most embody the idea of house and home like bedding and coffee mugs. Here is an outright subdued satire of metaphorical ingenuity.

Other artists manage to gracefully defy the isolation mandate by taking to their windows. A number of museum including the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw have commissioned 15 artists to do “Balcony Art”. First proposed in an op-ed by Manuel Borja-Villel, director of the Reina Sofia for Artnet News, this initiative was inspired by the communal balcony appearances full of cheer and song which started recently in a despaired Italy. This project is still under production but soon, new sonic and visually innovative displays of creativity will pour out of residential enclaves, perhaps from your neighbours building. Stay tuned!

Yasmina Nysten

Yasmina Nysten is a painter, writer and photographer. She has shown her photography, illustration and painting from New York to Qatar. Born and raised in Helsinki, she has lived in Cannes, Beirut and Brooklyn. After a BA from ALBA University, Beirut, she is currently earning her MA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In her spare time, she has been known to trip the lights fantastic and ride her hot pink motorcycle around the hood.



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