Art in the Times of Coronavirus


There is no better time than the Coronavirus lockdown to reflect on the importance of art, not just for those with a predisposition to it, but all for thinkers. Art has been around for longer than recorded history, it is not something at the periphery – art is actually at the very center of our existence.

Edge looks forward to the day when we can all come together and celebrate these artworks that highlight our failures, triumphs and the human condition during this crisis.

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Enigma 12
Sayed Fida Hossain

2020
Acrylic on Canvas
61 cm x 61 cm


Individual and community mental health has been a recurring theme. The artist expresses how our daily life has been ravaged by the pandemic. We are all living in tunnel of fear, surrounded by darkness with death by our side, as a shadow companion.


Soaring Redemption
Javed Jalil

2020
Mixed Media on Pape
79 cm x 53 cm

The Helpless Absurdity
Javed Jalil

2020
Mixed Media on Paper
79 cm x 53 cm

View from the Static Blinds
Javed Jalil

2020
Mixed Media on Paper
79 cm x 53 cm

The swathe that cuts across, a surge pulling the body past dimensions.

A voluptuous gesture, a dangerous call to rise beyond. As the insignificant swells to consume what lies beyond and lay down a new order, an earthly melding of pleasure and pain heightened into cosmic proportions a tug between finite and infinitude. Yearning for a state of salvation within the stretch of red momentum.


Requiem For Life (Series)
Tamera Khan

2020
Acrylic and Pen on Canvas
30 cm x 30 cm


Our activity is responsible for militarism, war, poverty, overpopulation, and the panoply of environmental hazards associated with pollution, deforestation, land erosion. These birds serve as an emblem of all that has been caught in the path of human expansion.


Time Traveling Virus (Series)
Sampa Halder

2020
Mixed Media on Canvas
40 cm x 53 cm


The artist’s series portrays the endless reflection of man’s disruption of natural harmonies.


Our man-made urgencies are measured in hours or days, but nature’s wrath unfolds slowly.


As we time travel through the virus-laden coral reefs, putrid flora & fauna and decomposing wildlife, we realize a grimmer fate is awaiting us all.


Rest 1
Anisuzzaman

2020
Watercolor on Paper
51 cm x 36 cm


Developing countries are experiencing an unfair burden as a result of the pandemic. Appalling indicators in infections and deaths have left countless devastated.

These setbacks will most likely unravel years of development gains and thrust many people back into poverty. The only way to escape the disease is to maintain social distancing and remain confined to one’s home. Contemplation of livelihood must wait, as survival becomes key. The resting boat, in the artist’s placid watercolor, symbolizes this struggle.


Nadim Hossain
The Leader

2020
Acrylic on Canvas
90 cm x 125 cm


A story of contrasts…

A good leader is a source of light
A bad leader brings darkness
Beauty, peace, progress & prosperity
Blood, destruction, corruption & vice

A leader has the power to change the world. But, it is our responsibility to choose them wisely and hold them accountable.
The artist painstakingly captures what the world has become, but also shows what we could aspire to.


Farah Naz Moon
Counting Lines 1

2020
Watercolor on Paper
61 cm x 41 cm


Lines are a part of our daily lives – in the natural environment as well as the built one. They are everywhere – branches of trees, electric cables and winding roads.

In some art, lines denote motion or energy, while in others direction. They can be still or dynamic. Each artist uses them differently to tell the story. Here, she depicts the trauma of the infected and mounting deaths, counting lines with lives.


Afternoon Tea Party
Humaiara Bente Bari

2020
Acrylic on Canvas
38 cm x 27 cm


Matisse-inspired patterns and prints paint a picture of a ladies’ tea party – you can almost hear the chit chat and laughter.

The artist intentionally sets this colorful scene off against the dark backdrop outside as a suggestion to just take a break and have a good time.


Nature 1
Sharmin Lina

2020
Watercolor on Paper
41 cm x 56 cm


Nature plays a leading role, as a source of inspiration, during the pandemic for this artist.

In art, nature can take many visual forms from photorealism to abstraction. Art can mimic nature, visually replicating objects as they appear in real life, or it can take visual cues from tangible shapes in our environment. This abstract piece is a result of the study, observation & contemplation of natural phenomenon and its many forms.


Nature Loves Isolation 1
Rajat Subhra Bandopadhyay

2020
Watercolor on Acid Free Paper
76 cm x 56 cm


The artist’s meticulous watercolor series paints a bleak, parched landscape… with its long cracks.

Perhaps they are scars, reflecting our pain, sorrow and demise. But then, a solitary shoot springs to life, as if a promise of life.

Indeed, like nature, we too will rise from the devastation, with a new and better perspective.


Lal Tol-er Moddhe Ma o Shishu
Anukul Chandra Mojumder

2020
Acrylic and Charcoal on Paper
38 cm x 56 cm


setting sun behold
horizon ablaze in red
A god-child is born

With a few familiar masterly strokes, Anukul ignites hope for a safer, more peaceful and more prosperous world for our children than the one we inherited. Just as a mother protects and guides her child, this divine creature will shield the future generations from harm and lead them to a new, bright beginning.


Nature 67
Nabaraj Roy

2020
Watercolor on Paper
56 cm x 76 cm

Nature 70
Nabaraj Roy

2020
Acrylic on Canvas
38 cm x 54 cm

Nature 68
Nabaraj Roy

2020
Acrylic on Canvas
38 cm x 54 cm

We all have a natural tendency to respond to things that move us, forcing us to be creative.

Many artists are, however, finding it difficult to bring out their inner creativity during this pandemic. Roy’s abstract watercolors, surprisingly vibrant, reinforce the fact that nature has always been, and will always be, a driving force of creative inspiration.

Throughout history, from the greatest painters of the past to today’s most promising talents, nature has indisputably proven to be one of the most treasured of muses.


The Situation
Jayatu Chakma

2020
Drawing on Paper
26 cm x 31 cm


Laden with symbolism, the graphically dynamic piece captures the reality of society’s poorest.

The workers’ lost wages begin to take the shape of the virus itself, signifying their constant struggle and a cycle of unending hardship. The artist, well-known for his depiction of the Jumma community, voices so eloquently the inescapable realities of rising poverty rates, fueling hunger & desperation.


Distant Skies;
Dreaming of a Safer World
Mohammad Iqbal

2020
Oil on Canvas
35 cm x 35 cm


Nature striking back
Now all bond together
In abstruse network

Iqbal’s masterful strokes of blush tones, energetic blues and fiery red evoke mixed emotions. They paint a story of hope, resilience and unity. The power, within each of us, creates a halo of protection, thus completing the cycle. Through their expressions, souls converse with one another in a wordless conclave.


The Circus Continues
Monirul Alam

2020
Acrylic on Canvas
107 cm x 145 cm


Our society is a circus without a tent. The top acts being, exploitation of workers by business owners, extortion by civil representatives, and misappropriation of aid. The theme is nothing exotic, just the everyday plight of the ordinary man.

And despite the pandemic, the outrageous spectacle continues…


A Song of Freedom
Kanak Chanpa Chakma

2020
Acrylic on Canvas
76 cm x 76 cm


Mother Earth had foreseen this – she whispered and wept, but we paid no heed. We hacked down her forests, destroyed her habitats and polluted her air. We have induced this pandemic; and now we atone for our transgressions, indoors.

It is time for the skies to clear and nature to breathe again. It is time for us to contemplate, to love nature – all its beings and creations. For only then, will nature unshackle us and set us free.


Transformation (Series)
Kuntal Barai

2020
Mixed Media on Paper
21 cm x 29 cm


Human life thrives on our bonds with others, seeking harmony in our daily lives. Coronavirus and the inescapable lockdown have strained this source of solace, transforming the very essence of our existence. We now live with fear, stoked by the media. Each of us is changing in our own way – some physically that is visible, while for others it is an inner journey of the soul.


With the backdrop of these morphing faces, the artist sparingly, yet masterfully, uses a dash of color to help us focus on reality.


Frontline Heroes of the COVID-19 War
Gulshan Hossain

2020
Oil & Acrylic on Canvas
91 cm x 91 cm


This artwork resonates with the rest of the world in expressing our gratitude to front-line medical workers, facing danger every day as they care for us. Many are infected, some have perished, yet they march on. The artist’s series sheds light on pharmacists, journalists, police, grocers and others and reminds us just how ‘essential’ they truly are – the Coronavirus has given rise to a new protagonist, a cape-less hero who walks among us.


Judgmental
Fahim Ahmed

2020
Pen on Paper
19 cm x 28 cm


Disparities & life opportunities are further reinforced by the broader social, economic and political structures. Now, Coronavirus has made matters worse for the disadvantaged. The artist illustrates with a metaphor of the crow picking away at one’s head – compelling us to reflect on the fairness of the rules and ask ourselves – will things ever change?


The State of Being Mindful
Salma Zakia Bristy

2020
Acrylic on Canvas
46 cm x 46 cm


The lockdown has brought mental wellness to the forefront of social dialogue.

The artist reminds us to better care for our physical health to protect our fragile emotional state. She urges us to spread optimism and encourage others to rediscover that passion within. The artwork beckons us to venture among the clouds, to uncover the silver lining and spread the happy turquoise.


Hridoyer Janala
Mohammad Eunus

2020
Mixed Media on Canvas
76 cm x 76 cm


We are all just prisoners of our device
Peering through windows of time
Hiding darkly, confined by walls,
Obeying the rules of this new war,
And striving for safety from a chaotic world.

The artist masterfully juxtaposes nature’s revenge against mankind’s brutality by sentencing us to forced seclusion. Time passes and days go by. Forgotten are the polluted clouds of dust that shroud nature’s lungs with a deathly veil. The sounds of commotion & disruption are replaced by the sweet melody of birds. And now, as we peer through the window of our soul, we see the rare blue sky once again.


Subconscious Mind
Oishi Nur

2020
Pen on Paper
26 cm x 36 cm


Spinning cog-wheels and turning gears have replaced flesh and muscle. Uprooted trunks remind us of withered away blood vessels. In contrasting black & white, the artist depicts our engineering of modern technology as dehumanizing & monotonous. Replacing us, squeezing the very life and soul of humanity.

Then again, this isolation is a mirror into our subconscious – an opportunity to rediscover our rusty, buried identities. It calls us to dig deep and unlock our hidden potential. There is still time to reconnect with our dreams and our true selves.


PTSD
Muhammad Shafayet Hossain

2020
Acrylic on Paper
36 cm x 56 cm


Melting faces reflecting our shared human instincts. That’s how the artist portrays his new series.

We are creatures of social networking, emotional connections and intimate relationships. With this forced distancing, many faces begin to lose clarity and drown in a hazy and unfamiliar sea of memories. The dark backdrop of uncertainty sets the mood, cueing the onset of helplessness and even despair. But, if we dig deep and make that extra effort to reach out with understanding and kindness, we will persevere.


Quarantine Time 2
Shakila Chayan

2020
Charcoal and Pen on PVC Board
21 cm x 28 cm


Spinning despair and anxiety, the virus engulfs the globe, draining color from life itself.

The artist’s bold use of symbolism most effectively portrays a scene of mayhem and speaks very directly to us – where nails depict helplessness and dismemberment suggests shattered souls.

Fortunately, the artist survived to share her journey, battling physical pain over several weeks and mental suffering that even descended to a near-death experience before coming through.


Self Nurturing
Tasmina K Majles

2020
Pen on Paper
21 cm x 30 cm


A depiction that reflects the importance of self-connection, transformation and well-being.

The artist through her deft line drawing, reminds us of the need for self-care and inner growth – so very important as we journey through these challenging times.

We need collective awareness about being mindful of self, that could bring positivity not only within but also to the surroundings.


Connections
Farzana Rahman Bobby

2020
Mixed Media on Paper
29 cm x 67 cm


Nature has been our keeper, protector and mentor. Yet, modern man has been waging a war against it. Our wanton destruction of natural habitats has given way to disease & destruction.

Look at what our uncaring attitude has brought on – the invisible killer.

The artist uses abstract expressionism to capture what is unseen – our needs, emotions and the invisible. Life springs from the dark blue-grey of the cosmos, morphing and multiplying, connecting through neural networks and spiraling tendrils.


Spirit
Mustaque Ahmed

2020
Acrylic on Canvas
46 cm x 61 cm


Like morphing butterflies, the frontline worker’s spirit lifts and rises, evolving in beauty despite facing the darkest days in our lifetime.

In a backdrop bleak and dark, the artist sets still waters in the foreground to symbolize our primordial beginnings in nature. Emerging out of this, the protagonist spreads hope of color through fluttering wings – while one eye looks on pensively, the other remains vigilant.


Mason
Poonam Saha

2020
Illustration


“Mason” provides an encouraging insight into the present pandemic moment – there’s plenty to learn from standing still. It may even take you on a journey of self-reflection, healing and personal growth.

We find ourselves sealed vacuum-tight, surrounded by darkness and the solitary moon. The seemingly endless night-time is restorative for the mind and health. We feel strangely peaceful, quiet and even forgiving. Gradually, this enforced isolation transforms and blossoms with flowers of hope.

The series of illustrations by artist Poonam Saha, is reflective of her time in quarantine – depicting the different stages of isolation and how one views one’s “surroundings within the confinement”. Starting with self-confinement, and complete disconnection, one moves into the fulfillment stage and, finally, growth.”

What are some lessons you have learnt in this constructive solitude?


Stay Home
Saida Sultana

2020
Watercolor on Paper
27 cm x 33 cm


Some say the lockdown is like being caged in, but the artist prefers to see the brighter side. Not only does it ensure our well-being, but also helps mother nature replenish and renew – evidenced by lower pollution levels and the ever louder chirping of birds.

Using vibrant watercolor, Saida Sultana weaves a touching story around a family of birds – safe and snug in its nest, celebrating life with melody. Even the vine comes to life and sprout foliage – further reinforcing the allegorical reference to the family bonding so many of us are seeing in our homes and a revived natural world.


The Last Savings
Mohammad Rakibul Hasan

2020
Photography


Mohammad Rakibul Hasan is an award-winning documentary photographer, filmmaker and visual artist. His most recent work “The Last Savings” is a series of photographs depicting the income disparity & class struggle in our community, a reality for which COVID-19 provides increasing evidence. Read the artists’ story below:

At 50, Firoza Begum has just lost her job after 30 years as a housemaid – so have her two sons. With her two grandchildren Fahima (left) and Selina (right), they go hungry and suffer from an uncertain future. Firoza and her family are just another example of a huge portion of the world population who are living life on the brink and are now economic victims of the worst catastrophe since World War II.


Fate
Mintu Dey

2020
Watercolor on Paper
42 cm x 65 cm


The visitor is here, a COVID moon, casting shadows on a desolate landscape. Its surreal light reveals the forlorn; the living are scattered about in silent grief, a loving family unable to touch him, not even for last rites. Ironically, the departed has at last found a measure of peace, having passed on the torch to the youngest generation. And yes, despite the uncertainties, the child is able to gaze up in wonder at the ever mystical moon, and the pull it has exerted through the ages.