© Lulwa Al Khalifa, 2020
How has this pandemic affected you and your creative output? How are you adapting to the new realities?
This pandemic has shaken the whole world completely. It has devastated countries, economies and families but it has also revealed a humanity and a resilience that has been overshadowed by superficial concerns that have been stripped away now. We have collectively realized very quickly what is truly important and what we cannot take for granted anymore. As a creative person I feel that I do not have a creative impulse at this time. My brain is too crowded with uncertainty and fear. I’m sure that this will eventually lead to creative expression but right now I’m looking at this global devastation and my heart breaks for everyone who has lost a loved one. Personal grief is what brought me to painting six years ago. It was a coping mechanism for me then. But that was a different time. Today, the global uncertainty that this pandemic has unleashed needs to be resolved before we can find our new normal again.
Please share any insights you have learned from this “lockdown/self-isolation”? Also, is there a special role you feel artists can play in response to the pandemic?
My biggest take away from this whole experience is how much I personally took for granted. I took for granted my accessibility to my loved ones, to my family and friends. I took for granted life’s simple joys and freedoms. Fear will now inform my freedoms going forward. I will need to think about how my personal freedoms will impact my loved ones. I never imagined that going out to get a cup of coffee or hugging a friend hello can bring potential devastation to my at risk loved ones but here we are.
Artists are members of the community and as such we must adhere to what benefits the community’s a whole. We must continue to self-isolate until we are told we no longer need to. In that time, we can contribute in any way we possibly can, remotely. We can generate an income by creating online art classes, we can participate in online auctions, when able we can give back to charities and help our communities and each other etc.
How do you think this will affect artists, the art world and how people interact with art? How do you feel this crisis might reshape our societies in general?
I think that this crisis will undoubtedly have a very strong impact on the art world in terms of sales. The economic effects will inform people’s needs and will limit disposable income. However, I have faith that this crisis will be under control in the near future. As the world gets a handle on this virus, we as a people will normalize and heal collectively. We will heal physically when we find cures and vaccines that will protect us. We will heal mentally and spiritually as we become more aware of how small this world truly is and how we are all a part of a global community that needs wholistic wellbeing to function. We will heal economically as our governments deal with the lost jobs and economic fallout that has hit the globe. I believe that there will be tough times ahead but we will come out of this crisis leaner and fitter God willing. When that happens, we will be in museums and art galleries again. We will continue to enjoy art as we once did.
© Lulwa Al Khalifa, 2020
Lulwa Al Khalifa is a self-taught painter who lives in Bahrain. She paints alla prima with oil on canvas, and her work is contemporary and often leans toward the abstract. She has exhibited in throughout the Middle East, Europe and the US in acclaimed art fairs and noted art venues. Her works have also been featured in numerous publications.