It’s been one year since the coronavirus pandemic hit, forcing museums, art galleries and exhibitions the world over to shut down as nations went into total lockdown. And while some cultural institutions have reopened to the public (with safety measures in place) within the last few weeks, others are still opting to go the virtual route.
Saudi Arabia’s The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, also known as Ithra, recently launched a digital showcase titled “COVID-19 Exhibit” that aims to reflect on this unprecedented time.
The virtual showcase, which will run for two years, is a collection of personal objects belonging to individuals around the world that symbolize this turbulent period.
“Art is about connecting people through culture, but we connect maybe even more easily through common objects,” said Ithra curator and head of Ithra museum, Farah Abushullaih.
The carefully-curated pieces include everyday items that helped people cope in a time of change as well as instruments, photos, notes and artworks.
On display, there’s a ball of yarn and knitting needle, a jar of natural yeast, which the submitter learnt to grow during lockdown, a Playstation controller, a box of surgical face masks and a boarding pass from London to Jeddah before the travel ban to and from Saudi Arabia was implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus, among other objects.
The 270 objects being showcased were selected from hundreds of online submissions that came from all around the world, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Australia, USA, Egypt, Germany, UK and more.