BioArt Contemporary Art and the Life Sciences: COVID-19 Response Artwork

Featured Image By: Ashley Kerr

Author: Ashley Hemmings

Due to the current global pandemic, everyone's lives have been changing in dramatic ways. On account of the school being closed and the students no longer having access to the bioart lab, we tasked them with creating a small artwork in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. They could complete this project in any media, and submit it to us however they liked, temporarily suspending the usual bioart project rules of needed to use living or recently deceased material. The projects that we received were scary, funny, uplifting, vulnerable and above all else thoughtful. These are a few of those projects:

Ashley Kerr

For her project, Ashley collaborated with her mother (a nurse) to create beautiful eerie photographs of her dressed in full personal protective equipment standing in empty public places that would usually be heavily populated - a public playground, a grocery store, and a shopping mall, etc. The works evoke a dystopian landscape, sparsely populated by only those with the proper training and safety gear to brave the outdoors.


Dan Woods

Dan's response to this assignment was to make an illustrated propaganda poster with the slogan “You’re Not Invincible” aimed at people who think they do not need to follow social/physical distancing practices. The image is illustrated over a photograph of Dan’s grandfather who is at higher risk of complications from the virus due to his age and preexisting conditions. The final image is a thoughtful combination of vulnerable personal imagery and horror based propaganda.


Ashlyn McCann

Ashlyn collaborated with a long distance friend, both of whom have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. The pair decided that instead of allowing themselves to be overwhelmed with worry they would just dance it out. The final project is humorous and uplifting, a video of the two of them dancing in various rooms of their homes, over an illustration of the Coronavirus, to the song “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” by The Police.


Sam Wilson

Drawing inspiration from Richard Long’s natural drawings made while walking, Sam created a circle of sticks with a circumference of 2 meters or the appropriate distance people need to be seperated to follow proper social/physical distancing. Considering the physical and emotional frustration of quarantine Sam documented her body standing in this circle in the middle of an open field, miles away from anyone, but still protected in her circle


Sarah Abdulreda

This project considers the public’s pandemic response of panic buying and hoarding products such as disinfectants, sanitizers, and toilet paper. Sarah created an instructional video of herself making homemade hand sanitizer with other items that one might have around their home. The video begins with clips of fear mongering news coverage of the pandemic, and then transitions into a more positive video on how you could make your own cleaners out of products that likely are not selling out as quickly.