Online exhibition of self-portraits highlights isolation during the pandemic

Posted at 4:23 PM, May 13, 2020

With museums around the world closed due to the pandemic, some artists are displaying their work virtually.

A new online exhibition gathers artists' self-portraits in a time of coronavirus. The collection brings together art from around the world, tapping into a central theme inspired by the COVID-19 crisis.

“I've always loved self-portraits,” said Anna Arnold, Ursuline College Gallery Director. “It’s so deeply personal and you know with art, it's like we take all of this frustration and this fear, all of this, and you can put that into your art.”

With Ursuline College’s Wasmer Gallery closed, administrators reached out to artists to create the exhibition. Their muse: The isolation of the pandemic.

“You know you look into people's eyes and you can feel what they feel,” said Arnold. “Maybe that is something that you're feeling as well, and you can relate to that.”

There are around 100 images from 72 artists, all sharing their works on the gallery’s Flickr page.

One of those artists is Cleveland-based flight attendant Euneata Walker. Her self-portrait is entitled Caged Bird.

“I called it a Caged Bird because that's kind of how I feel right now,” said Walker. “I feel like I belong in the skies and that's kind of been my passion.”

The digital art show was open to all professional and emerging artists to capture their self-portraits and feelings about the pandemic through self-reflective artwork. For Walker, it was a way to connect to a global community of artists and observers.

“I personally feel that people are comforted that they aren't alone in this fight, that it's an unusual circumstance that we're in, that so we can find creative ways to come together,” said Walker.

“We're connecting with people and maybe they're friends, maybe they’re people who live right next door, but you really can’t embrace them but, in a way, you can embrace them through the artwork,” said Arnold.

It’s an embrace she says is already resonating with thousands.