Art and the Covid-19 Pandemic – End White Silence

With my unexpected early retirement, I finally have time to make art on my own schedule – which is an incredible mental health boost. Making art is a form of meditation for me. Hours can swim by as I focus on creating images that I feel are imbued with life. One friend on Facebook had posted that stay at home orders meant ‘artist in residence’ to her – which I completely agree is what being home means.

So, one question is what art is ‘appropriate’ for our situation? My work room is filled with several projects and I’m reveling in having the freedom to simply create whatever I please, whenever I please. The idea of constraining my work to fit a single theme – even one I fully and enthusiastically support – just doesn’t sit well. In art school (decades ago) I was told not to focus on details. I was told that details are too feminine. I’ve enjoyed making portraits no larger than postage stamps in defiance of that advice!

Do artists have a responsibility to make art that reflects their social and political time? Obviously that depends on the kind of art a person makes. In such times of upheaval and disruption, I believe making art that doesn’t address things is akin to sticking one’s head in the sand. How do we end white silence if we don’t make art promoting racial equity? Ideally, as an artist, I hope to address our situation as a country and to express my personal views on things that are also deeply personal. Isn’t freedom to create on a variety of themes a fundamental aspect of being an artist?

This is an India ink drawing picturing Black Lives Matter protests and a young black boy.
End White Silence


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