The news cycle is a barreling monster shackled to the turning of a clock. So many seminal events have transpired since the pandemic that looking back feels like harkening back to a time long past. You don't even hear the phrase "the new normal" anymore.
One can only imagine what it must have felt like for children in their developmental phases to go through such a shift in their daily status quo. Kids need stability to develop properly and as schools shutdown and safety measures kept everyone homebound, the curriculum had to adapt to the circumstances the entire world found themselves in.
The International School of Dhaka faculty devised the 'Heroes of Our Time' art project for the kids attending school digitally during the lockdown to properly understand the situation of the world and channel it into productive and creative schoolwork.
The result became an exhibition that ruminates upon people who solved the crisis and brought us back to some semblance of normalcy. Both the faculty and the entirety of the school contributed 50 artworks, of which 15 were displayed at Le Meridien hotel.
Unsurprisingly, many of the artworks celebrated healthcare workers, front and centre.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives drastically. In this difficult time, some people have had the privilege to remain indoors. However, the healthcare community and workers in the hospitality industry continued providing their services despite the risks," said Thomas Van der Wielen, Director of ISD, to The Business Standard.
"As a tribute to these heroes of our time, ISD began this travelling art exhibition. The students and teachers curated thought-provoking and reflective art pieces that evoke courage and kindness."
The most poignant and beautiful piece is by faculty member Nazia Nahid's 'In Safe Hands'. The mixed media, acrylic on canvas depicts two gloved hands cradling a delicate crimson rose against a whitewash background. The gloves used in the painting are actual gear worn by frontline healthcare workers.
The rose symbolises all the survivors of the health crisis, those who were hospitalised and nursed back to normalcy by the fearless frontlines of the healthcare industry. Nazia's painting becomes even more striking when you learn that she is an autodidact and has been painting since she was a little girl.
Le Meridien spread out the exhibition throughout its premises to give the best lighting and atmosphere possible. The biggest piece, which was a mega collage of doodles done by kindergarteners in the shape of a heart, was displayed on the sixteenth floor, surrounded by natural light, allowing for the wholesome sketches by ISD kids to come through in its entire earnestness.
The spacing of the art pieces helps more than it hurts. The interior of the five star edifice is a very relaxing atmosphere to take in artwork.
One of the more novel pieces was a potted branch with multi-coloured face masks hanging from all its stems and branches. It catches your attention from afar and draws you in for a closer inspection. The normally drab and functional facemasks have been transformed into a gregarious carnival to symbolise a degree of levity and the healthcare worker's eventual and guaranteed success.
Constantinos S. Gavriel, GM of Le Méridien Dhaka, said, "We are delighted to be able to showcase ISD's beautiful and thought-provoking artwork on our premises. We hope that getting an eyeful of these art pieces will allow people to recognise the consistent efforts made by all the frontliners in such a difficult time."
ISD will be hosting similar art exhibitions in various places around the capital very soon for a wider range of people to contemplate the art pieces. Continuing until 11 June, the exhibition is open for all in the hotel's lobby and Sky Lounge.