When the going gets tough, the tough get going. In the time of lockdowns and uncertainty, an ever-expanding group of artists are putting heads and hearts together in an effort to offer a helping hand, safeguard livelihoods and keep spirits up.
In The Time Of Corona is a platform under the Make It Happen banner, a project initiated by artist/designer Bono Stellar (real name Nawwar Shukriah Ali). It gathers artists under one (virtual) roof and introduces their work to art lovers and collectors alike, who can then purchase them.
Working together with #KitaJagaKita, a “one-stop shop” for Malaysian civil society Covid-19 efforts, a portion from In The Time Of Corona artwork sales will go to those in need. How much exactly (it ranges between 30% and 50%) is decided by the artist.
“In The Time Of Corona started as an idea that I posted on Instagram, hoping that someone would pick it up. But then I thought, why not do it myself? Make It Happen has not been very active lately but perhaps now is a good time to get things rolling and give back to society, ” says KL-based Bono Stellar.
Like those in other industries, many artists have also had jobs postponed or cancelled, and are bracing for harder times ahead.
Bono Stellar, a Terengganu-born architect by training, is not spared the same fate, but she counts her blessings and remains optimistic.
“My work has slowed down a lot, with some cancellations too. But I am grateful that I have enough to get through this. It has made me view my priorities differently. I have had time for self-reflection and healing, just like many others.
“I have been in quarantine by myself since day one so I have spent time on Make It Happen, read books and learned new instruments. I have lost my momentum in creating, but I see it as a pause button. Even while a part of me grieves for what the world is going through right now, I tell myself it is fine to take a break to understand myself better. I am using the time to plan how to live better after this, ” she says.
The In The Time Of Corona platform was launched in early April and Bono Stellar shares that response from the public has been very encouraging.
“I was not expecting this but this is amazing. We just made our first donation from artwork sales at the end of the month. Now we just need to reach out to more people so they can help spread the word and maybe even own an artwork or two. We can’t travel right now, so why not get a nice piece of art to add character to your home?” she says.
There are 20 contemporary artists, including graphic designers, photographers and filmmakers, listed on the website at the moment, with plans to expand the list to 40.
Among those participating in this cause include Tsa Meera, Miriam Omar, Shiela Samsuri, Shafiq Nordin, Noriza Arzain, Mariyam Shany Ahmed (aka Manje), Kara Yong, Fish Hoe, Haris Rashid, IMMJN and John Hafiz.
According to Bono Stellar, the aim of In The Time Of Corona goes beyond selling art and donations. Instead, she sets her sights on the future, hoping to forge long-term connections and alliances between new collectors or art enthusiasts with the participating artists.
“The least we can do right now is to support each other and help others in need. I hope that we can shed some light via Make It Happen, to let creatives know that they are not alone, ” she says.
After the pandemic, she plans to work with other organisations to continue to come up with new content in an effort to give back to the community.
Gallery: In The Time Of Corona artists
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