6 MIN READ
We are still thinking about the pandemic, but in a slightly different way. The Covid-19 peak has come and inexplicably, gone. Vaccinations have begun and many of the most vulnerable have gotten their first jabs. Yet, the coronavirus remains in the air and our lives continue to revolve around a fear of getting infected.
Amidst all the terror and death, the pandemic, however, did give many people an opportunity to step back and evaluate themselves and their lives. For those involved in the arts, the pandemic and the lockdown provided much-needed time to finally indulge in projects they’d long held off. Others used their time in lockdown to express feelings of isolation, loneliness, fear, and trauma.
Today, the Record introduces a new mini-series where we speak to artists from various fields and ask them about the projects they worked on during the lockdown and the pandemic.
Here is the first edition in the series, beginning with visual artists.
Supriya Manandhar is a computer graphics artist and independent researcher.
Title: Turmeric Men
I made this piece in September 2020. We were around six months deep into quarantine then. Around a month prior had been the peak of the "Nepali le pachaucha, chinta garnu pardaina'' narrative. But then, when the airwaves were filled with news of rising Covid-19 cases and deaths, it was time for the turmeric-water rhetoric. The world felt very bleak and surreal at that moment. I felt quite sick and angry about everything and needed to vent. I imagined that our version of dystopia would be run by turmeric men with turmeric faces who disturbed and yet enthralled, because they always knew to say things people wanted to hear.
Momin Pradhan is a visual artist currently enrolled at the Kathmandu University School of Art and Design, pursuing his dream in studio arts. He works with paints and designs, and experiments with various mediums.
Title : Faded sense (Drowning in isolation)
During the lockdown and the longer quarantine period, people went through a lot and faced a lot of challenges. This piece is about how, after long months of staying within the walls of the home, everything slowly dissolved into a dream-like state akin to the sensation of drowning in dreams and losing all sense and grasp of reality. This piece is about the state when all sensation and semblance of form and shape fade.
Shradha Devkota, a fine arts graduate from Kathmandu University's School of Art identifies as a visual artist. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree at the University of the Arts London: Central Saint Martins.
Title: Transparence to Translucence
My body wants to float to that ‘other’ world. What stops me is the physicality of this body, the heaviness that the organs carry within themselves. The blood, the water and the veins. The flesh, the hair and the bones. What if I am hollow? I want to float without my organs, hence a hollow body is cast. Merely just a body, without organs, makes me free.
Xpectorate is an anonymous art account. It was an attempt at keeping sane during the insanity, a break from the crazy numeric updates on social media.
Title: Hazmat suit
I don't like getting wet in the rain. I like the idea of a yellow raincoat. But, I remember a time when I refused to wear one and carried an umbrella to school because I found it to be too girly. I wonder if I'd wear it now. But, I would prefer a hazmat suit instead. I would like to quarantine myself. Maybe it'll help me recover. Or at least keep my toxicity to myself. I don't mind a little rain right now. I'd wallow in the rain wearing an orange hazmat suit until it bellows so loud and floods away everything with it. I will build everything from the start again.
Seetu Shrestha is a freelance graphic designer. She has always been interested in doodling, sketching, and DIY crafts. She holds a degree in Computer Engineering but later, her passion for the arts pulled her towards a career in design.
This is an illustration I made during the beginning of a pandemic. I was motivated to create it when I found an image of a nurse on the internet.
The headline has been changed to reflect the fact that not all artists featured identify as 'digital illustrators.'
The title of Shradha Devkota's piece has been changed at her request.
The Record We are an independent digital publication based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Our stories examine politics, the economy, society, and culture. We look into events both current and past, offering depth, analysis, and perspective. Explore our features, explainers, long reads, multimedia stories, and podcasts. There’s something here for everyone.
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