Qatar Foundation graduate uses art as a tool of expression
From quarantine to face masks, hand sanitizers, and social distancing to anxiety and adaptation, COVID-19 has thrown people around the world into a whirlwind of thoughts and feelings that are almost impossible to ignore.
Sara Al Buainain, who is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, decided to capture how people have had to adjust to a new, everyday norm through a collection of artwork titled ''The Quarantine Diaries.''
“At first I was scared – scared of the unknown – as my whole life felt like it had come to a sudden standstill. But as a person who believes in constant change, I decided to try and turn how I felt into something positive, and use my artwork to help make life a little easier – not only for myself but for others, too, and to offer them a source of comfort,” Al Buainain says.
The young Qatari artist started taking notes of her daily encounters in light of the pandemic, and the changes she witnessed personally, as well as those experienced by her family and friends.
“The inspiration behind my exhibition, The Quarantine Diaries, came from the observation of daily struggles of myself and the people surrounding me, and how they dealt with the pandemic, and are in fact still are coping with it,” Al Buainain says.
“Each piece of art displayed in the exhibition represents a snapshot or a memory that reflect things we were exposed to or felt during the pandemic.”
Among the artwork displayed is a portrait titled Lost and Distressed. The piece depicts a woman in distress, which is reflected by the fact she is drawn very faintly, who is surrounded by daisies and plants, signifying her hopes and dreams of the future.
Another piece, titled The Quarantine Style, is of a group of young men with the same haircut which – with everything closed – has come to be viewed as the unofficial look of lockdown.
While all the portraits in the exhibition have a place in Al Buainain’s heart, the piece titled It’s the New Look is particularly special to her. The portrait includes two drawings of herself, facing opposite directions – one featuring a mask and one without. It strives to show how face masks have become a fashion staple.
Al Buainain spent months working on her artwork, which was displayed in an exclusive online exhibition with Al Markhiya gallery from June 30-July 17.
Al Buainain said, “It has been a period of contemplation for me. My exhibition was a documentation of the pandemic through my eyes as an artist, as I sought to reflect the chaotic state of mind we have all been experiencing in this crisis. It’s an achievement I’m proud of.”
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Source and Cover Image Credit: Qatar Foundation