By: Trends Editorial Team
Hossein Aghaeipour is an Iranian painter ART and photographer born in 1981, in Rasht, Iran. He is an independent painter, who uses road map lines to show his audience different perspectives of cities; he wants people to imagine a portrait when they hear the names of those cities. Aghaeipour also uses this method to design jewelry. In his latest exhibition, which was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic, he displayed his jewelry pieces that were inspired by roadways and road maps of cities. Given that Wuhan was the origin of the virus, he painted a portrait of the city, and by the time his painting was finished, the city where he lived was also under lockdown. So far, he has held four solo exhibitions in different cities in Iran and has participated in a handful of group exhibitions with other Iranian artists around the world including in Paris, Rome, Istanbul, Vancouver, etc. Aghaeipour does not sell his paintings, but rather only presents them to the public to share his perspective of the world so that his audience pays more attention to the paintings than the conventional price tag found on others pieces.
At the beginning of 2019, no one thought this year would be one of the most difficult times of our lives, a year in which panic spread throughout the world and the entire planet faced serious challenges. The coronavirus became a threat to global health and it affected all industries including manufacturing, art health, tourism, etc. Coronavirus is an uninvited guest that has spread more than initially anticipated and as time goes on, new dimensions of this catastrophe are discovered.
In the beginning, different opinions were published every few days about this unknown virus that led to confusion. People quarantined themselves in their homes, and sanitizing items quickly became scarce. In Iran, some people were skeptical of the published statistics about the number of cases. As the pandemic worsened, businesses were faced with crises causing some to permanently shut down.
Every day there are multiple reports on the progress of treatments, vaccines and other prevention methods. According to health officials, we are not even midway through fighting the coronavirus. The World Health Organization says this situation might continue for the next two years even with an effective vaccine. The economy has experienced much turmoil and a lot of damage has been done to art-related jobs. The art community in general was one of the victims of coronavirus restrictions. Movie theaters, concert halls and art galleries suddenly became vacant. The queues for movies and concerts turned into queues for masks and disinfectants.
Many were disappointed that they could not visit art galleries. Despite the effort of many art galleries and art institutions to stay open by obeying the health protocols, they could not overcome the fear of contracting and further spreading the coronavirus.
The government’s order to shut down high-risk businesses quickly changed the direction of many art activities during the pandemic. The challenge of staying-at-home during this time was not just for artists and suppliers of art products but also athletes, restaurant owners and many other businesses.
Maybe in a few years these problems might sound distant, but for now the shadow of the coronavirus is still weighing heavily on people. People’s creativity and imagination have flourished amidst the tragedies of this year. Many people began making short animated clips or home videos in cyberspace to cheer people up. From posting health tips, homemade face mask tutorials to online concerts, games, laughter and challenge videos, artists and creatives played a significant role in influencing society.
Heroic medical staff sacrificed themselves in the fight against coronavirus and in return, artists created beautiful masterpieces, and musicians played music and sang for medical staff near hospitals, in appreciation of their bravery. The impacts of these actions compelled people to feel the depth of this tragedy even more.
The influence of the coronavirus on the art world is quite evident. What is truly remarkable is the creativity that COVID-19 has brought to the arts. Many painters have been using masks instead of canvases for their paintings, creating avant-garde and deconstructive pieces. Lack of materials to work with at home pushed people to become
more creative. Everyone expressed themselves with the least available equipment possible. For example, there were even some musicians who sang from their balconies just to raise morale in their neighborhoods.
Many people tapped into their creative, artistic potential and used the extra leisure time they had to create short video clips and other artwork. The work they presented was based on their individual abilities. Some of them were widely noticed by people over social media. The impact on the art world is immeasurable. Since all the art institutions and galleries shut down, the main source of income to most artists has been jeopardized, and even people with large incomes are suddenly facing severe financial pressure.
Social media opened a new door to this issue by letting artists offer online classes to the public, most of which were free in the early stages of the pandemic, but as the quarantine period continued, they started charging fees in order to support themselves. Online auctions have also been booming. As we go forward, people are getting more familiar with this new way of life. It is unclear how long coronavirus will affect our world but art and creativity have played a significant role in surviving this pandemic by healing boredom and alleviating mental anguish during lockdowns. Art will always find the way to flourish and rise under any circumstances.
Art is a victim of the coronavirus pandemic but did not surrender to its dark crowns and is still fighting to survive and continue its bright life. Coronavirus was a lot of things but it was not the nail in the coffin of art. Art will remain to heal the boredom and mental anguish of humans in the continuation of the struggle against this virus and until it’s defeated, like a phoenix, it will emerge from the ashes of its painful fire.