Coronavirus is deeply impacting Europe: Suddenly, we are back to closed borders and life as we knew it has come to a hold. Europe under COVID-19 does not feel the same. But what is there to learn during these times of crisis? And which are the bounds at the very core of Europe that keep holding everything together?
We wanted to explore these questions from a cultural perspective, and what better way to go about this than to let our Animate Europe comic artists speak their minds? We asked seven of our finalists, themselves originating from seven different European countries, to capture their own artistic vision of Europe’s situation during and after the Corona crisis in one-page graphic stories.
Their interpretations are both personal and political, some even philosophical.
Here’s for an overview (click on each comic to view it full-size):
Top (left to right):
Jenny Robins (United Kingdom, 2015 finalist) – This Too Shall Pass
Bue Bredsdorff (Denmark/Germany, 2015 finalist) – Empty Places
Marco Tabilio (Italy, 2013 finalist) – Heracles and the Augean Stables
Marta Okrasko (Poland, 2019 finalist) – Embracing Europe
Štěpánka Jislová (Czech Republic, 2017 finalist) – Legacy
Domingo Pozanco (Spain, 2015 finalist) – Europe Cannot Turn Its Back
Noëlle Kröger (Germany, 2017 finalist) – Leave No One Behind
Bottom (left to right):
Domingo Pozanco (Spain, 2015 finalist) – Time To Be +Europe
Marco Tabilio (Italy, 2013 finalist) – Voices
Štěpánka Jislová (Czech Republic, 2017 finalist) – Facts
Noëlle Kröger (Germany, 2017 finalist) – Hibernation
Bue Bredsdorff (Denmark/Germany, 2015 finalist) – Will We Sink?
Jenny Robins (United Kingdom, 2015 finalist) – Connections
Marta Okrasko (Poland, 2019 finalist) – Lockdown
Our artists‘ perspective
The comics address questions of deep concern: How are Europeans coping with confinement? What unites Europeans while everybody is separated? Can fear be a motor for political action? What growth potentials can we spot in this crisis? And how can and should Europe change when this is all over?
United in separation
Our artists share the view that Europeans remain strongly connected even during the virus crisis – not least because everybody is in this boat together and experiences the same difficulties. Confinement can invoke feelings of emptiness, loneliness, boredom, and claustrophobia. For example, check out Marta Okrasko’s “Lockdown“, Bue Bredsdorff’s “Empty Places“, and Štěpánka Jislová’s „Legacy“.
But there is hope for things turning back to normal if Europe stands together: see Noëlle Kröger’s „Hibernation“, Jenny Robins’s „This Too Shall Pass“, Domingo Pozanco’s “Time To Be +Europe“, a plea for trust and solidarity in a multi-ethnical Europe, and Marta Okrasko’s vision on reunited Europeans after the crisis, “Embracing Europe“.
Finding empowerment in the fear – transforming the future of Europe
Invisible and unpredictable, COVID19 creates various kinds of uncertainties. Some of our artists have captured the dim feelings that many experience during these times, such stress and anxiety, overstimulation from catastrophic news, and even fear of the future. Have a look at Marco Tabilio’s “Voices”, Bue Bredsdorff’s “Will We Sink?” , and Domingo Pozanco’s “Europe Cannot Turn Its Back“.
Yet, fear can be a motor for change. If Europeans use this time to think wisely, use their ratio and focus on solidarity, this crisis can become a powerful learning experience and tool to create meaningful habits and guidelines for a more conscious future. These views are expressed, for example, in Jenny Robins’s “Connections” and Marco Tabilio’s “Heracles and the Augean Stables”. Some artists also think beyond the virus and see its entanglements with other ongoing crises, such as the refugee crisis and the environmental crisis – check out Noëlle Kröger’s “Leave No One Behind” and Štěpánka Jislová ‘s “Facts”.
Animating COVID-19 is available as a folding album! Order your free copies by contacting our programme coordinator, Charlot Uhrig.