Maya Wang is a fourth-year IMA student with a minor in Digital Art and Design and Studio Art. She is currently based in Long Island, New York. In recent months she has pursued several art projects, both as part of assignments for her classes and outside of class. In late January, Maya posted a photograph on Instagram depicting herself with a hand-drawn surgical mask and red and yellow makeup around her eyes and on her lips, colors that represent the Lunar New Year. “This makeup art piece was my main Covid-19 feelings inspired art. I wrote a caption about it. I wanted to bring light to the racism that was going on in the U.S. towards Asian people at the time. It overlapped with Chinese New Year as well, and it was disheartening hearing stories from my friends and family in China. Through it I wanted to promote this feeling of hope.”
Maya says the work was both a way to express herself and cope with the COVID-19 situation. “The irony is that it was made prior to the outbreak in the U.S., and people weren’t treating it seriously. So, it was a call to action. It made me make public my views and helped me cope in a way that I knew how to.”
This is not however, Maya’s only makeup-art work. She also has a collection of pieces that represent her unique style. She started publishing them on Instagram over the last year. “I have always been inspired by makeup art. I’ve also always been interested in non-conventional, avant garde makeup.” she says. “Sometimes it’s for a social cause, other times it’s really something I’ve wanted to try, for example, putting stickers on my face. I did a piece on celebrating women as well.”
You can check more of her makeup art through Maya’s website:
Other than makeup art, she has also done two other projects this semester. Her capstone project is an artbook of photos and text on Family and Intergenerational Trauma. “Covid-19 played a part in how I wanted to tell the story. Being stuck at home made me re-evaluate family and what it means to me.”
You can check out her capstone project here.
Her other project is for her Printmaking class, exploring the feelings of being home and quarantined, being trapped and lonely, but still having hope. “The quarantine and self-isolation has given me a lot of time to experiment with new mediums, like printmaking, collage, book-making and more makeup”.
The time off has allowed her to explore comedy on the famous social media platform TikTok. At first, Bishka did not find the idea of TikTok appealing at all. “I thought it was for high school kids. I also saw some TikToks on Instagram and could see how it can be an addicting app (so) I originally veered away from it”. With the COVID-19 pandemic leading to a lockdown, she looked more into TikTok and started getting ideas about content that she could make.
Bishka’s videos fall into the category of memes and comedy and showcase the events of her daily life with a comic twist. Her videos range from showcasing daily life in quarantine, to her school life in China, and also her Indonesian heritage.
You can check out her TikTok here or by her username: bishkazareen
“When I first started making them, it was more for my family and close friends, mostly talking about my life and things that we go through,” she said. Then she broadened her audience and started making videos that other people could relate to. “I just kind of went from there. I got a lot of positive feedback from my family and my friends. Then I started looking into what the trends are and thought ‘Oh, this is cool, I could make something out of this’.”
For Bishka, the video making process starts with writing down relevant news that inspires her and making a TikTok out of it. “I usually have one or two days where I am making the TikToks all day so I can have enough content to post every day, but there are days where I have an idea and I immediately start shooting,” she said. Bishka shows that there is some work that goes into making TikTok videos, such as the position of the stickers, filters, angles, and matching actions to the desired sound.
“Covid-19 was a good way to get me started on making TikToks,” Bishka said. “After the pandemic is over, I will keep making them. I like that a lot of friends and my family enjoy the videos, and it is a way to stay connected to them. It is nice having people appreciate the things you do. I also think that it’s great that people are experimenting with new mediums of art and they now have the time to explore things they wouldn’t normally.”
During these months, Gurkriti has explored many traditional forms of expression. Her goal for the quarantine is to stay present, productive, and prioritize time for things she loves. Gurkriti has been writing ever since she was in middle school and it has provided an outlet during this time. To her, writing is not just a way to escape reality but to face it as well.
“I understand my own emotions more when writing,” she said. “Writing gives me an outlet to know what I need, how to be a calmer person. Exploding on paper, letting out all those fears, it’s extremely organic for me to express.”
She has written two poems, Daze and Heat, the main concepts of which are things she observes and how she feels about them. In Gurkriti’s poems, she reflects in an indirect way on events that have happened in the past.
“I look back to things that I’ve seen and (what) I’m doing right now, and what they remind me of. If I view something, even if it’s just a wall, it often reminds me of something. Now that I have so much time to think, I overthink.”
(Gurkriti’s poems are attached at the end of the article)
Gurkriti’s poetry represents an internal dialogue, the result of a writing process that may be messy at times. “Sometimes I’m crying, and then I pick up a pen and write what I’m feeling. It’s therapeutic in a journaling-sense.” She has also explored water-color painting.
Gurkriti is currently living in her 100-year-old house with traces of a long family lineage and memories of summers as a child. “I’m reviving my childhood all across. I remember picking mangoes, climbing trees. There is so much nature right outside our doorstep. It’s often a welcoming distraction to notice all the life around me.”
She painted a dahlia to represent her awareness of the surrounding nature.
Gurkriti also has a passion for music and singing. “I’ve been singing since I was 3 years old. Music has always been a part of me.” Right now, she finds herself with no instruments to play but that has not stopped her singing.
“I’ve learned you don’t need instruments to make art all the time, you yourself are enough to make art,” she said. Gurkriti has been getting more in touch with her Indian heritage. Alongside English classics, she also loves older Bollywood tunes. “I try to sing out however and wherever I feel like, while doing dishes, taking a shower. I’ve started recording my singing and sharing it with people”.
Gurkriti predicts her future work will include many reflections from the Covid-19 experience. “It’s become such a part of me, especially as a third-culture kid. I think the pandemic might have a trickle effect on my work, and that it might include undertones inspired by the Covid-19 experience,” she said.
“During this time, people are generally nurturing the skills they’ve lost and finding ways to rebuild what has been lost throughout time. The new ‘normal’ of the ways in which we express ourselves isn’t what it was before Covid-19 struck, just as the global economy, routine livelihoods, and the way we approach our existence won’t be. People’s art will be marked with remnants of this year for generations to come.”
There’s a budding silence
Amidst all the chaos outside that window.
A disturbing silence.
Piglets disrupting sleep
with no care
Pigeons that intervene
to chirp out their daily hunger
to Punjabi pop
A deafening silence.
It speaks with no words
It questions you unfairly
for an answer.
It taunts you
for an answer
And when you reply,
no no, it tells you,
the leaflets are fine
soaking up the sun,
tethered lightly to their barks,
not yet falling.
And when you listen,
put to ease,
the sun pecking your skin,
No no, it tells you,
with the rains,
you just don’t see.
And when you speak to it,
Why do you think?
The world does for me.
It’s not a privilege when winters cold
freeze the insides.
Crushing up the mind piece by piece.
It’s narrow lanes broken
to stiffness of a conquering kind.
The heart becomes a masterpiece.
A shell comforting every other cell.
It collects its crimson waves,
pools erupting to ones you love.
everywhere else but within you.
You move to a hotter place
from the hollows of a numbing frost.
To palms and suns,
fine golden sands.
Yet still, it rests, safe.
A cold that yearns for the heat you gave
everywhere else but in you.
This article was written by Anisa Muça based in Tirana, Albania. Please send an email to email@example.com to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Photo by Image by garageband from Pixabay