Following the Strokes
Despite scientific advancements, at difficult times we acknowledge the often-overlooked yet significant role that art plays in helping us understand, document and cope with uncertainty. The role of art vis-à-vis past endemics or the present pandemic is not different. While a scientific remedy is being sought, it is the arts in its many manifestations that is sustaining us through this period. Whether it was medieval Black Death, which claimed the lives of 200 million Europeans between 1347-1351, or the much recent Spanish flu of 1918, which by some estimations claimed 100 million lives, artists have always found a way to document their contemporary experience. Take for example the 14th century mural depicting Tournai Citizens Burying the Dead During the Black Death or the multiple Triumph of Death murals, where death is shown as a great equaliser in an otherwise hierarchical society.