In the pursuit of art

Vidisha Khaitan

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COVID-19 had side effects on all of us, even on those who weren’t infected. These side effects included loneliness, procrastination, lethargy and general gloom. What better medium for catharsis than art? Students, faculty and staff at UBC strove to overcome the pandemic’s dullness with artistic pursuits ranging from dance to crocheting.

 

“[Dance] would be something I look forward to ­— the only thing I might look forward to — just to release what I was feeling,” said Maggie Reid, president of UBC Dance Horizons. “During the pandemic, when everyone [has] bottled up their feelings, you’re able to express different things through the path of your movement, the tension in your muscles … It’s a great way to destress with the release of endorphins.”

 

The magic of movement is something dance has in common with knitting. Sauder lecturer Dr. Zorana Svedic started a knitting and crocheting club in her campus residence, St. John’s College, before the pandemic. Focusing on solving every stitch helps Svedic forget about problems that aren’t tangled in her yarn at that very moment. “It’s a good problem to have when you’re trying to be creative and solve problems in [a] creative way and that can be expressed through poetry, through painting,” she said. “Any of these creative endeavours shift your brain to start thinking about those problems, the good problems, from some of the mundane things or even very stressful things that we deal with in the real life.”

 

With the move back to in-person learning, the club continues to social distance and wear masks. “It still brings the people that want to do stuff together and I think we’re going to go as long as we can,” said Svedic.

 

Another resident of St. John’s College who finds comfort in art is master’s of architecture student Patrick Fung. He has been an active part of Svedic’s knitting club since the first lockdown. Fung also plays the piano, but his main escape from the pandemic has been drawing.

 

“With art, it’s really your chance to do something that’s meaningful to you and something you can focus on and completely lose track of time … it’s strictly your time,” said Fung. 

Patrick Fung