From quarantine to face masks, hand sanitisers and social distancing, to anxiety and adaptation, COVID-19 has thrown people around the world into a whirlwind of thoughts and feelings that are almost impossible to ignore.

For Sara Al Buainain, a Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) – a partner university of Qatar Foundation – she felt like her whole life has come to a standstill. To help overcome her own feelings of uncertainty and unease, Al Buainain decided to capture how people adjust to a new norm through a collection of artwork titled The Quarantine Diaries.

She said that at first she was scared – scared of the unknown – as her whole life seemingly stopped. But as a person who believes in constant change, she decided to turn how she felt into something positive, using her art to make life a little easier – not only for herself but for others.

The young Qatari artist started taking notes of her daily encounters in light of the pandemic, and the changes she witnessed personally, as well as those experienced by her family and friends.

The inspiration behind my exhibition came from observations of daily struggles – of myself and of people surrounding me, and how they dealt with the pandemic.

She said that each piece of art displayed in the exhibition represents a snapshot or a memory that reflect 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 surrounded by daisies and plants, signifying her hopes and dreams of the future.

Another piece, titled The Quarantine Style, is of a group of young men with the same haircut which – with everything closed – has come to be viewed as the unofficial look of the lockdown.

While all the portraits in the exhibition have a place in Al Buainain’s heart, the piece titled It’s the New Look is particularly special to her. The portrait includes two drawings of herself, facing opposite directions – one featuring a mask and one without. It strives to show how face masks have become a fashion staple.

Al Buainain spent months working on her artworks which were displayed in an exclusive online exhibition at Al Markhiya Gallery from 30 June until 17 July.

Follow this LINK for more information about The Quarantine Diaries.