United in Africa by Laura Makaltses

Inspired by the UN global call to creatives, and recognizing the power of art, UNDP South Africa launched a similar call specific to South Africa. The objective of the call was to help translate critical public health messages related to COVID-19. The themes for the call included personal hygiene, physical distancing, knowing the symptoms, myth busting and kindness contagion. 

By the closing date, UNDP received 72 exciting creative submissions from over 50 creatives were received. The creative submissions ranged from music videos, poems song recordings to cakes, comic strips and digital art. One such submission was that from the Human Innovation Project which, inspired by the Kindness Contagion theme, pulled together over 25 artists from across Africa to help intensify the message of spreading kindness. The project partnered with the South African Creative Industries Incubator (SACII) to achieve this.

UNDP partnered with SACII to collaborate on the release and marketing of the song as an African response to the COVID19 pandemic by the creative community from various parts of the continent and as a way of intensifying COVID-19 messaging encouraging acts of kindness. This also provided an opportunity to showcase other artworks received via this call. A selection of the artworks, both from SA and abroad that intensify messages were selected for profiling in this quest. The South African pieces were developed during stage 5 lockdown whist the global ones were at different stages depending on their country of origin. 

Used as the main piece in the call to creatives. this artwork by Gerardo La Porta of Italy is about protecting oneself from COVID-19, but also looking forward to a positive future. 

As described by the artist, Polelo Master P Huma from South Africa, this is an art work of hope, belief and trust. What seems impossible will be possible if we unite.

The piece, titled Divided we Fall; Together We Conquer (fighting Covid-19 together) was inspired by and dedicated to essential workers – doctors, nurses, scientists, and government workers who are putting their lives and those of their families to ensure our safety and making sure that we follow the rules and regulations so we do not spread the virus.

 By bringing together our resources  (represented by the holding hands); together we can save and protect our planet, and protect our economy. It might seem like we are losing the battle, but if we can unite as nations, countries and come together as one, we can conquer this common enemy. Divided we Fall and together we conquer!

 

This piece by Laura Makaltses of Toronto is titled United in Africa and is a reflection of how COVID-19 has impacted the world. The virus has affected humanity on a global scale. During these times of uncertainty nations have put aside their differences and other conflicts to fight COVID-19. This version of my work showcases Africa. My illustration shows the power of togetherness. The facemask has become a symbol of protection during the pandemic. By imposing African flag images on the masks it showcases the ongoing efforts made by Africa to ensure the safety of their citizens. 

 

This piece by Lungisani Ndlovu of South Africa is titled Silwa Nendlala (we are fighting hunger) and it is inspired by his upbringing. It is a piece about comparison of human capabilities to fight hunger by growing their own food. Comapring the times he was growing up and noticing how people are now living in very hard times. The artist is encouraged by how they used to grow their own food and with this piece empasises the need to go back to the times when we used to keep food gardens. This, he says "will improve our capabilities and enable us to maintain our independence.  We cannot succumb to a disease and to hunger. We should remember our capabilities and not beg when we can fend for ourselves". 

This piece by Margaret To of the United States is number 4 in a series of 5 titled "Spread kindness not virus". It reminds nations that while we keep our physical distance, we still have the power to show love and positivity. One kind act can spread to so many more, because kindness is contagious.

This piece by Kholofelo Makgalemela of South Africa is titled #NoToWomenAbuse and it raises awareness on Gender Based Violence during lockdown. As cities around the world go on lockdown, victims of domestic violence look for a way out.... equipped for the virus 🦠 but exposed to the one called your Partner💔... 

 

 

This piece by Swojan Newa of Image Ark, Nepal is titled Kindness is more contagious than any virus and shows a multitude of hearts connected around an invisible COVID to symbolize solidarity's power to neutralize any attack on mankind.

 

This piece by Bonginkosi Thato Mavuso of South Africa is titled Veiled and is part of a series of portraits portraying various cultures of man enduring different challenges during their time, some even futuristic. The main reason for creating this kind of work was to raise cultural awareness. The black background represents the unknown creeping from behind to overwhelm the character. The void infinite blackness of the background seems to engulf the character into submission. The Veiled character is fully clothed to the neck to protect himself from the unforeseen/invisible forces of the unknown, with the garment adorned with a spread of colorful "Dots, Circles and Spheres which resembles Atoms which are the building blocks of life.

The veiled character stands as a symbol of hope in the midst of this global pandemic phenomenon. Not only will it stand as a symbol of hope but also as a form of taking much stricter precautions when it comes to personal hygiene.

 

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