Writing & Art on Covid and Black Lives Matter 

July 20, 2020

Students examine and reflect on other students’ art and writing about Covid and Black Lives Matter, and share their own perspectives, including through art. (Grades 6-12)

Gathering 


Ask the students to spend a moment reflecting on how they are feeling in about the Covid pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests. 

Ask the students to draw or write something that represents that feeling (give them 5 minutes). 

Ask a couple of students to share their artwork or writing. 

Reflection questions  

  • What did it feel like to draw or write about your feelings? 
  • How does art or writing allow you to express your feelings or thoughts?

This lesson will explore the reality that we are living through a historical moment and the crisis has only begun. 

Art is important because it contributes significantly to visual literacy. In a world where we're encountering and consuming images at a rapidly increasing rate, we must be able to “read” what we see and be able to decode it. In this lesson we will examine and compare students’ artwork and writing, which provides different perspectives, and gives us a well-rounded way of looking at the global pandemic and Black Lives Matter Movement. 

The artwork and writing in this lesson are from 9th grade students who attend high school at the Business of Sports School (used with permission).

Ask students to reflect on some of following questions 

  • What has life been like during quarantine?  
  • Who or what have you missed during the pandemic? 
  • What are your thoughts about the protests against the killing of George Floyd and for racial justice? 

 


Artwork about Pandemic, Quarantine and Covid 19 


Have students review the art pieces and the accompanying write ups, and then use the reflection questions below to examine and process each piece. This section of artwork focuses on Covid-19 and the quarantine.  

 

Reflection questions

  • What is your initial reaction to the artwork or writing? 
  • What stood out to you and, why? 
  • How did the images depicted reflect, or not reflect, your feelings on the pandemic?  
  • If you were to create a piece of art about the pandemic, what image would you create, and what would you say about that image? 
     

Art Image 1

The Lazy Cat:  My artwork shows that I have been lazy and not really doing much these past two weeks.  I mostly watch TV and wait for the day to end.  I clean and stuff, watch TV, and sleep.  I call my painting The Lazy Cat because Garfield from the cartoon is lazy just like me.  I don’t like being in quarantine but if social distancing means people not getting sick then I don’t care how long I will be stuck inside.  I just need to think of stuff to do besides binge watch shows



 
 Art Image


Art image 4
 
 

 


Artwork about the Black Lives Matters Movement 


Have students review the art pieces and the accompanying write ups and use the reflection questions below to examine and process the pieces. This section focuses on artwork in response to the Black Lives Matter Movement.

 
Reflection questions

  • What is your initial reaction to the artwork or writing? 
  • What stood out to you and, why? 
  • How did the images depicted reflect, or not reflect, your feelings on the Black Live Matter Movement?  
  • If you were to create a piece of art about the Black Lives Matter, what image would you create, and what would you say about that image? 

 


 Art Image 5

WE are BLACK MEN!!  … WE build… We don’t tear down other BLACK MEN… We have felt the pain of being torn down and we have decided we will be deliberate about building others! All too often, we men find it easier to criticize each other instead of building each other up. With all the negativity going around let’s do somehting positive!!  BLACKLIVESMATTER……….

 


Art image 7

The World We Live In:  My collage represents all of the choices we are facing in our world today and how the government is so clueless about everything going on in the world.  It is ridiculous that the people who are supposed to be in control have no idea what to do. 2020 started with the arrest of three of  my friends, then the death of Kobe Bryant, then the death of Pop Smoke. There was almost a WW3 after we had the Coronavirus outbreak, and now that the virus is slowing down, the world has been shaken by the murder of George Floyd. And let’s not forget about global warming, which is slowly killing us all.  I am not proud to be a human right now at all. I should have been born a rug or something.

 


Art Image 8

Every Red Stripe:  My artwork is explaining how hard it is to be an African American man in this world. It is hard because you will face a lot of criticism because of the color of your skin. The police officers always expect a group of Black young men to be doing the wrong things when they are with each other. We are being labeled as a gang. That makes it hard for Black young men to accomplish their goals in life because they are criticized by their own government and the people.  I feel like the laws aren’t fair towards African-Americans. We feel like Caucasian people get away with more things that Blacks. If a Black boy was to bring an illegal weapon to school he would’ve been shot and killed. If a white young man was to bring an illegal weapon to schol, he would’ve just been taken into custody because of the color of his skin.

 


Art Image

Protest or Riot: What type of problem can looting solve? Of course as Black people we are angry about how the cops are handling situations with our race, and yes we do have a right to protests, but should innocent businesses suffer that had been closed for months due to Covid-19? Are we showing that we are fed up by looting or are we being as careless as the people we are angered by when we break into people’s establishments and violate their properties? Something that some people have worked a lifetime to build. I have seen Black-owned businesses broken into as well, so not only are people not helping, they are hurting their own kind. There has to be a better way.


Art Image

The Current State of Affairs:  When this project came up, I automatically knew which topic I was picking. As someone being a part of a generation that will be running the future, I wanted to use what I could to help people be aware of the current state of affairs in the world. I can’t donate, but I can sign peititons and I can use my creativity and knowledge to help.

The artwork I created was to show how many people are being affected by discrimination of race that should’ve been solved years go. While the background is self-explanatory, on my paper mache hand there are African-American names who have had their lives taken by police. Most of which have not been put to justice. Halfway through writing their names, I felt guilty because I couldn’t fit at least half the names I found of victims. I am angry that this many people had to have their lives taken away for something to happen. People are angry about this and rightfully so.

 



Closing and Evaluation 


Invite students to share: 

  • How did it feel to see the various pieces of art and writing that depict the moment that we are in? 
     
  • How can artwork or writing provide students with a voice to express their feelings and thoughts about the quarantine during the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests? 
     
  • When specifically can you use art or writing to express your feelings or thoughts? Ask students for examples. 

 



Additional Activity


Have students create an art piece or a piece of writing to illustrate their hope for the future in the aftermath of the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests.