The coronavirus pandemic has closed galleries and museums all over the world but artists have found other ways to make an impact through their work.
In Kenya, artists from Kibera, the largest slum in the capital, Nairobi, have been painting murals to raise awareness about coronavirus and the preventative measures that can be taken.
Along narrow alleyways and across bridges and walls in the sprawling informal settlement, painted murals can be seen giving out instructions in Swahili on how to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
“We decided as artists to go around to write murals, to spread the message of the coronavirus. We wanted to emphasise the common enemy of the virus, that people should be aware of it, they should not take this virus for granted, they should be serious,” says 25-year-old artist Josphat Ndemo.
Ndemo is a member of the Uweza Art Gallery, where young artists from Kibera create and market their own original art. With Kenya confirming about 38 cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday, artists from the Gallery say they are focusing more on work that would help minimize the spread of the virus.
Slums are sprawling unplanned settlements that have grown on the fringes of major urban centers to provide much-needed housing to some of the world’s poorest.
In most slums, including Kibera, poverty is widespread, and basic public utilities, including clean water and reliable electricity, are usually absent.
This situation is making it hard for residents in such areas to even practice the recommended self-isolation or wash their hands regularly as indicated by experts. Nevertheless, people are responding well to the murals, says Ndemo.
“People who thought this virus was not serious are seeing the murals and changing their minds. They are taking caution,” he says.
Check out some of the murals below:
Photos credit: Uweza Foundation