Sara Al Buainain, an alumna of QF partner university Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, has illustrated her personal experience, insights and emotions during COVID-19 through a digital art gallery
Pandemic. Lockdown. Quarantine. Disruption.
Face masks. Hand sanitizers. Social distancing.
Anxiety. Confusion. Depression.
Adaptation. Resilience. Hope.
This is the whirlwind of thoughts and feelings that the unwelcome presence of COVID-19 has thrown almost everybody around the world into. For months, time seems to have frozen and the world seems to have gained a louder voice that nobody can ignore.
For Sara Al Buainain, a Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate of the Class of 2017 at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar - a Qatar Foundation partner university - her whole life felt like it was put on hold with the outbreak of the pandemic. As an artist who is specialized in painting and digital art, and someone who is passionate about the human experience, Al Buainain decided to illustrate what humans are facing psychologically, socially, and on the ground in their everyday life through an art gallery she had been working on, under the name of ‘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,” she says. “But as a person who believes in constant change, I decided to move on, to turn all this mess inside my mind into a positive thing and use my artworks to help make it easier, to create something positive, and to help make life a little easier – not only for myself, but for others too, and to offer them a source of comfort.”
The inspiration behind my exhibition, ‘The Quarantine Diaries’, came from the observation of the daily struggles of myself and the people surrounding me
The young Qatari artist started taking notes of her daily encounters amid the pandemic, and the changes she has 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 the daily struggles of myself and the people surrounding me, how they dealt with the pandemic, and how they are, in fact, still are coping with it,” Al Buainain says.
“Each piece of the artworks displayed in the exhibition represents a snapshot or a memory that reflects 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 illustrated very faintly and is surrounded by daisies and plants, signifying her hopes and dreams for the future.
Another piece, titled The Quarantine Style, portrays of a group of young men, all with the same haircut which, through the lockdown period, has become its ‘official hairstyle’.
While all the portraits in the exhibition have a place in Al Buainain’s heart, a piece titled It’s the New Look is particularly special to her. A picture of herself, facing in opposite directions – one with a mask and one without – it portrays face masks as a fashion.
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.
“It has been a period of contemplation for me,” she says.
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 to this crisis
“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 to this crisis. It’s an achievement I’m proud of.”