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Arabella Dorman: Pandemic-Inspired Art

The Human Touch - A painter’s response

"Nothing eases suffering like the human touch." – Bobby Fischer

©Arabella Dorman, Into the Abyss (A Tribute to Edvard Munch), Oil on canvas, 28 x 36 inches

In any epidemic, as in war, it is often the children who are the hidden victims. For those who have lost loved ones, and for the disadvantaged and vulnerable, the far-reaching impacts of Covid-19 can be devastating. I painted this as a homage to all the children who have suffering through this, and to Edvard Munch who lost his mother and sister as a boy to the epidemic of his times, tuberculosis.

A Short Video by Arabella Dorman

I have been reflecting on these past few months and have searched for meaningful ways in which to respond. In doing so, I have to confess that I have found isolation to be a rare and surprising revelation. Amidst the fears, frustrations and suffering, I believe it has offered us an opportunity to re-asses who we are today, individually and collectively. Notwithstanding the challenges of home-schooling, I feel very blessed to have had more time with my family and have enjoyed learning to discover the sublime in the smallest of things. Life in its simplicity can become uncommonly rich, offering us a chance to slow down and imagine different ways of living; ways in which we can transcend borders, protect our ailing planet and recognise the urgent need for respect and compassion for our fellow human beings. This is especially poignant during this year as Covid-19 has invited us to 'Imagine', to step beyond our current reality and perceive something different.

©Arabella Dorman, Human Touch, Oil on canvas, 26 x 36 inches

©Arabella Dorman, Holding on, Oil on canvas, 22 x 26 inches


Arabella Dorman is an award-winning war artist and one of Britain’s leading portrait painters.

Arabella’s war art explores the realities of conflict today, its immediate impacts and long-term consequences. Arabella worked as an officially accredited war artist in Iraq and Afghanistan for over a decade, and in more recent years with refugees and those affected by war in Palestine, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria.

Arabella enjoys a prominent reputation as a public speaker and fundraiser. She was listed as one of BBC’s Top 100 Women in 2014, and Salt Magazine’s 100 Most Inspiring Women in 2015.Her work has been profiled across national and international television, radio and print, including New York Times, BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, Radio 4, BBC World Service, and featured on the front cover of The Times, The Guardian and The Sunday Times Magazine.

Winner of CARAVAN Global Mosaic Award and shortlisted for the Art+Christianity Award, Arabella’s installation  Suspended (St James’s Church Piccadilly, Canterbury Cathedral, Leicester Cathedral 2017/18), and her boat installation Flight (St James’s Church, Piccadilly, 2015/16), have been internationally acclaimed in raising global awareness about the consequences of war, forced displacement of people and human trafficking.

*Read Arabella Dorman’s article in the “War, Literature & Arts Folio”: Hope that Haunts


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