• CARAVAN Arts

Yasser Rostom: Creativity in a Time of Crisis


© Yasser Rostom, 2020

How has this pandemic affected you and your creative output? How are you adapting to the new realities?

I’m a freelance artist, so my work is from home all the time. And I’m someone who naturally loves being at home. Therefore, that aspect of the current crisis hasn’t affected me too much. I also love working more than hanging out with others. I find that the city is not a good place for me personally, as it is too crowded. So, more often than not, I tend to be at home. Reading and drawing are wonderful things to do. I moved to a new place this last January, and found it difficult to start drawing at first in a new environment. Also, I hadn’t drawn since last November, as before my move, it took me two months to pack up my former place. Therefore, it is only now, in March, when the pandemic started, that I have been really hungry to draw 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?

I learned that life is too short, and that our world, instead of spending it fighting each other as countries, should be focusing on healing our world. And I also believe now that more of us should work from home…and I don’t just mean artists, but any “desk job,” as it reduces the traffic and the pollution, and cares for our environment. This time has also reminded me how important taking time to read is for our own growth.

©Yasser Rostom, Perplexity, 2020, Ink on paper, 130x47cm

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 believe the global economy will go down for quite some time. This will seriously affect the art market. However, as artists, we should not stop creating, as art gives us life. I think we should use whatever materials are available to us, even if it is just pencil and a newspaper. But we need to keep drawing, as the artwork produced during these days will go down in history.


YASSER ROSTOM was born in Cairo, Egypt and graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University in 2001, and obtained his Master’s Degree in Ancient Egyptian Art. He has gained a reputation for being 'the Egyptian Dali'. A master of surrealism, Rostom draws stunning imagery that is blend of ancient and modern to compose something entirely surreal. A lover of pen and ink, throughout his surrealist technique he powerfully addresses themes of humanity, myth, power and nature. Rostom stays true to his roots and the Pharaonic art that is a part of his culture and upbringing, and combines it with surrealism, creating art that has a universal appeal.