Editorial: Creatives take on Covid-19

STRENGTHENING COMMUNITY. From hand-drawn cards made by children for Covid-19 patients to artists and other creatives creating face shields and other equipment needed by frontline health workers, creatives show how art heals and connects the community to its core values of hope, sensitivity and empathy. (Contributed photo)

HEAL the body and spirit.

The online sharing of a request for children to make get-well cards for patients admitted for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) gladdens the heart and reminds us of the need to share a quality that has become exceedingly rare recently: hope.

On Friday, March 27, 2020, Kristine Leechiu-Tan posted on Bounce Back PH about the request of Dr. Nicole Perreras for “kids to create handmade get well cards” that the RITM plans to put on the breakfast tray for Covid-19 patients.

The post, which directs parents and guardians to send the cards to the RITM address at Research Drive, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang or scan and email the card’s image to for the RITM to print and distribute, was instantly shared by netizens.

One of them was Lynette, who shared Tan’s post with her friends on Messenger. Minutes later, Ruth, eight, of Yogyakarta, Indonesia but staying with her family in Quezon City under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), finished a card showing her hero, a doctor in green pants and pink shirt, surrounded by a nimbus of hearts and her message: “Dear Patient: get well soon! stay healthy.”

Two days after Perreras’ call, Facebook users on Sunday were greeted by uplifting images of the cards drawn by children and sent by their families to RITM patients. Other photos showed the young artists engrossed in drawing and coloring their cards.

Other youngsters expressed positivity differently. At Consolacion, Apollo, 11, played on the piano the Beetles’ song, “Let It Be,” which opens with these lines: “When I find myself in times of trouble/ Mother Mary comes to me/ Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”

Young creatives are showing how art can heal the world.

Producing face shields that are part of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protecting frontline health workers, the Philippine FabLab Network encouraged citizens to coordinate with the nearest digital fabrication laboratory (fablab) to continue the production of face shields, of which 5,655 pieces were produced as of March 27.

A workshop that uses the principles of art and product design, as well as the tools of new media, to innovate and create “almost anything,” fablabs are “located from Ilocos Region down to Davao and Zamboanga Peninsula,” posted the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu FabLab on Facebook.

Aiming to continue distributing face shields to Cebu hospitals, the UP Cebu Educational and Research Foundation Inc. accepts donations coursed through its BPI, GCash and PayPal accounts, as well as materials brought to the UP Cebu Lahug campus. Details are posted on the Fablab UP Cebu Facebook page.

Artists, art gallery owners and the Arts Council of Cebu are holding an online art auction of works donated by artists. The entire proceeds of the auction will be turned over to the UP Cebu Educational and Research Foundation Inc. for the UP Cebu Fablab production of face shields and other PPEs.

Communication, Art and Design Dean professor Palmy Marinel Pe-Tudtud said the Fablab team is working to produce PPE suits with local dressmakers. The undertaking aims also to help the women earn and provide for their families. Under the ECQ, members of the informal economy, which rely on daily earnings, count among the most vulnerable in the community.

Called “Art to the Front,” the online art auction reached P556,000, as of March 29. Details are posted on the Facebook page of the Art to the Front.

Even as different initiatives of artists, young and old, target Covid-19 patients and frontline health workers, their creations disseminate to the rest of us the essential messages of hope, sensitivity and empathy that, even in this seemingly darkest of periods, humanity can summon the best from within.


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