Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 3 April 2020

Emirati illustrator shows how staying home connects all of us

The 23-year-old artist also pays tribute to the medical staff, police and service workers helping combat Covid-19

Stay home – that is the message Emirati illustrator Marwa Al Balooshi, 23, wants to convey in her most recent work.

The artist, who lives in Al Ain, was commissioned by Brand Dubai to create a digital illustration that could push this directive to the public and encourage people to stay in their residences in order to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Covid-19 has infected more than 333 people in the UAE as of Thursday.

Al Balooshi’s work comprises two illustrations with Arabic and English versions.

One shows a number of hands – varying in age and ethnicity – linked to one another by colourful strings. “I was thinking of a way to show that we are all part of the solution, even if we don’t work in the medical field,” Al Balooshi says.

“We can all contribute by staying home, and I used hands to represent people instead of drawing them… You can see there’s a connection between the diverse group of people from different races, ages, styles and personalities. They represent the diversity of the UAE, and the strings show that everyone is connected.”

The second illustration features a similar composition, though the clothing cuffs and the gloved hands indicate the professions of these figures – the medical staff and other workers who are working in the field throughout this pandemic.

“Some of them don’t even have a good night’s sleep because they’re so pressured,” Al Balooshi says, referring to the medical professionals in UAE hospitals. “I also included people who are sanitising the buildings, the police, and everyone is who on-call to fight this disease. We must stay at home for ourselves and also for them,” she adds.

The artist reveals that she has been staying homefor the past two weeks, stepping out of her home only to buy groceries.

Coincidentally, the artist studied cellular and molecular biology in university. Al Balooshi says that using what she learnt in school, she tries and spread accurate information to friends and family about the virus.

Her venture into illustrations is recent – only since two years – though Al Balooshi says she has appreciated drawing her whole life. Al Balooshi’s style typically incorporates pastel colours and symbols of Emirati identity fused with personal elements.

Updated: March 29, 2020 02:29 PM

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