Since the first lockdowns were introduced, we’ve had to cope with unprecedented changes to our lifestyles and habits. Social interactions have become digitalised, entertainment an indoor-only pursuit, and culture forced to adapt to life without museums and physical exhibition spaces. It’s been a tricky adjustment to make, even trickier to comprehend. But for a modern generation of artists, it’s provided an opportunity. Where politicians and public figures fail to adequately express the difficulties and challenges faced by everyday people during these times, art can help to bridge the gap, and offer some attempt at an explanation.
In a tribute to the importance of digital art during the Covid-era, here are our 5 top favourite pieces that shine a spotlight on life under lockdown.
1. Octavia Bromell
As one of the first European countries to go into lockdown, Italy’s was a particularly painful experience. But as the grim pictures from northern Italy were viewed around the world, so too was its community spirit, with neighbours combining their voices (and instruments) to create music. Octavia Bromell captured this beautiful moment in this artwork, which was featured on this BBC article alongside the likes of Sir Anthony Gormley and Noel Fielding.
2. Aleksandra Stanglewic
For many, lockdown has been peculiarly undramatic. With many making the transition to working from home, we’ve entered a new era of the still-life. This beautiful image captures a moment in time, featuring a slumbering dog next to an open laptop. It is serene and calming, but possessed of a palpable emptiness, of everyday life ground to a halt. This will no doubt chime with many people’s experiences.
3. Nathan Wyburn
As the caseload and death-toll rose and rose, tributes started to pour in for the frontline workers, who worked extremely long-hours to provide the support and care for those suffering in emergency wards. This heartfelt collage from Nathan Wyburn, who is also a patron of Cardiff & Vale Health Charity, features hundreds of images of frontline workers, forming an image of a nurse wearing a protective mask.
4. Hijack art
Known for their topical, Banksy-esque pieces, Hijack art created this tribute to medical staff as the heroes of the Covid era. With their shadows forming superhero-shaped figures, we are reminded that not all heroes wear capes. Many wear PPE equipment too.
5. Nina Cosford
Also featuring on our list is this piece by Nina Cosford, which captures the sense of loneliness and boredom that many have felt throughout lockdown. On a sparse background, a kneeling figure contemplates the emptiness of existence, expressing the cruel irony at the heart of ‘social distancing’ - that while we’re distancing from others, we’re also feeling distanced from ourselves.
By Richard Oxley