Linden artist raising awareness of COVID-19 through art

—Encourages other artists to send positive messages

DPI, Guyana, Monday, April 13, 2020

Twenty-two-year-old Jamal Durant is helping to raise awareness about the importance of social distancing through his artwork.

While many of his peers are still adjusting to the changes the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, the budding artist who hails from Linden decided to convert his energy into “positive artwork.”

“With this free time, I started realistic drawings and my mom was the first person that I drew; then I realised I had a talent for it and I started drawing myself,” Durant said.

After realising he could make a positive impact through his art, he began working on his COVID-19 piece.

“It was the desire to help raise awareness that drove me to create this piece. It is not okay to be unafraid of the virus. It is something serious and not because we can’t see it, means it is not a big problem,” Durant related.

The artwork depicts the young Lindener, with tears in his eyes, clad in a mask and gloves, gazing longingly at the Stabroek Market, which is a popular hangout spot in the city.

The market is completely barricaded, which demonstrates that both Durant and the market remain safe, while he stays at home, he explained.

“I used the barbed wires and caution tapes to show that it is dangerous to go outside, even though we miss being outside and the fun things we use to do.”

In further describing his work, Durant said the piece is purely subjective and can be interpreted as either a message about social distancing or quarantining.

“I would like the viewers to see that both social distancing and quarantining are extremely important measures to protect ourselves and the people around us.”

The tears the artist explained reflects the pain felt for the “way in which people and our country, in general, has been affected.”

Durant who learnt his visual art skills from family members said he plans on working on more nationalistic pieces.

He is also encouraging other Guyanese who are involved in the Arts – whether visual, singing, drama or dance – to help raise awareness against this deadly pandemic, as it may hit home better to the populace.