Art During COVID-19


Art has and always will be a form of expression. It is the materialization of thought; It is subjective, liberating. Although some forms and examples of art are considered less than favorable, the value each piece has on our society is undeniable. Each piece stands as a mark of history.

As the world suffers through a ruthless pandemic, artists (as well as non-artists) have begun documenting their experiences in a variety of art forms such as paintings, music, and poems. Being in quarantine has given many people access to free time that our fast-paced society hasn’t really ever allowed before. There has been a spike of interests in creative outlets mostly due to COVID-19, however, this isn’t anything new. According to a piece written by Montana state university, a similar spike in art similarly affected Europe during the 14th century under their own pandemic, the black death. The black plague was introduced into a society much more religious than our current situation. To 14th century Europe, the black death created a trend of fear of both death and god in art. The same cannot be said for our current situation.

A common theme in art made this year has been isolation. Countries, cities, towns, and neighborhoods have gone from being able to be social and have meetups, to having no choice but to stay home to avoid getting sick and getting others sick. With all these sudden disconnections, the scene was set for a new era of art.

This piece comes from Italy; a painting on a hospital in Bergamo named Papa Giovanni XXIII. The text reads, “To you all, thank you.”. While doctors and nurses have always been admired in society, their impact has grown even more so during these troubling times. Nurses and doctors have been risking their lives to help those with COVID 19. Many haven’t seen their families since the outbreaks started in fear of spreading the disease to their loved ones. The artist themselves isn’t listed, however, the feelings of gratitude were shared by all of the residents.

Another form of art expressed during this time has been done through music.

An artist by the name of Desiigner, popular for his song Panda, has recently come out with a song named Survivor. Here is a sample of the lyrics:

“I see stores, they runnin’ out of food

I been stayin’ in the house

We say hospitals runnin’ out of beds

The world is goin’ in a drought (In a drought)

I just wanna make it out

And you know everything I do, yeah, ain’t for clout

I just wanna make it out

We are the survivors, no we can’t be stopped (Stopped)

Praise out to them people up in Italy, on God (Praise on God)

We notice you, I give every prayer I got (Prayer I got)

These prayers on you, we know family or we die

We see Trump on the news goin’ crazy (Crazy)

USA people goin’ crazy (Crazy)

We just all ‘tryna see another day

From this world, no, we ain’t ‘tryna separate”

In the second verse of his song, Desiigner addresses a variety of current topics: He pays respects to Italy who earlier in the pandemic had been suffering from a huge amount of deaths from the virus, he talks about the shortages of food in stores caused by the panic shopping, the lack of hospital beds due to the high amount of patients. Desiigner even mentions the current political climate with the current president.  These topics have been stressful to many of those in quarantine. Regardless of the things going on, the main message that Desiigner wants to get across is that we as a society will survive and overcome this hard time. This song was meant to be uplifting and supporting, words of unity for his fans and listeners.

Another great expression of art produced during this time has been through poetry. Admittedly, poetry is not my favorite form of art, however, a piece written by Charles Coe has managed to change my mind, even if just a little. His poem, Love in the Time of Corona, describes simply what the quarantining experience has been like:

In ancient Greece, men shook hands

as a demonstration of good faith

to show they weren’t armed.

In these days of fever and fear

we keep our distance, resist

the timeless call of flesh to flesh.

But the time will come again

to take the stranger’s hand

embrace a friend, share a kiss.

Until then our cries for human touch

are dispatches from separate

battlefields, tied to passenger pigeons

we release into the restless night.

COVID 19 has led to an increase in free time which has boosted a lot of creative output and motivation.  Social distancing has brought out many sides of our society. The fear, the appreciation, the longing, the loneliness; all of this is immortalized in art. Using art as a way to express our feelings is a way to help feel productive during a time where working and leaving your house is a rare occasion in itself.