Homegrown art about COVID-19 by local artists

Culture often has an intangible but nonetheless real effect on us. We see this in the use of green paint on the walls of hospitals, as well as the placement of abstract and landscape art in the hallways and waiting rooms, as these have been proven to have a calming effect.

As such, 5 Filipino painters, komiks artists, and illustrators are drawing attention to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, and providing catharsis through their art for all of us in need of a pause to catch our breath as the nation responds to the COVID-19 disease.

Art about mother nature during COVID-19

covid art by mak borro
Image credit: @makborro

Digital illustrator Mak Borro, whose body of work is dominated by a pastel-like style evoking children’s books with some dark, surreal touches, wonders if mother nature will need to protect itself against COVID-19 too.

covid stamp art by marz aglipay
Image credit: @marztoday

Stamp maker Marz Aglipay, whose works have been exhibited in spaces such as Art Underground in Mandaluyong, celebrates the newfound mobility of wild animals as recently documented in many news articles from around the world.

Talk about animal crossing!

Art against online misinformation

covid talisman art by manix abrera
Modern takes on traditional talismans
Image adapted from @manix_abrera

Veteran komiks artist Manix Abrera of Kikomachine fame invokes the supernatural.

Our revolutionary Katipunero ancestors used anting-anting talismans in the belief that these would ward off Spanish bullets. In Abrera’s art, he imagines trinkets that ward off misinformation about the virus.

Art about work-from-home outfits

covid art by jill arteche Image adapted from @jillarteche

Illustrator Jill Arteche, whose works have appeared most notably in the Philippine Star’s Youngstar section as well as in corporate projects and children’s books, gives us tips for our #QuarantineOOTDs.

She depicts people on conference calls looking professional in formal office shirts, but actually clad in their pambahay from the waist donwards.

Art for a cause

covid poster art by jill arteche
Image credit: @jillarteche

Manila-based illustrator Jill Arteche also created this artwork in support of healthcare workers, civil servants, and other frontline service providers who are doing “whatever it takes” to rebuild everyone’s lives during the pandemic.

This illustration is part of a series of postcards for sale via her Instagram. All proceeds will go to providing medical items for doctors and food packs for vulnerable families.

painting by elmer borlongan
“Deep Listening” water and gouache on paper
Image credit: @emongsky

Even the contemporary masters use their clout to help, creating art about COVID-19.

In this watercolor and gouache piece, the oft-auctioned and celebrated painter Elmer Borlongan will donate all proceeds to source personal protective equipment and N95 masks to medical frontliners. “Please bid for it,” he asks his followers, adding that they can do so on the Art Rocks Viber group.

You can bet on it.

Art about COVID-19

Of course, many of the pieces by Philippine artists creating art about COVID-19 don’t only inspire, but also provide comic relief, given our penchant for humor.

Laughter is, after all, good medicine.

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Cover image adapted from @jillarteche, @manix_abrera

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