To say the pandemic has been disruptive for the arts community would be an understatement. From cancelled exhibitions to gallery closures and festival postponements, artists have been disproportionately affected by the wave of shutdowns over the past year.
For Chiedza Pasipanodya, a Toronto-based artist, curator, and writer bringing to light issues of representation, visual culture, and belonging through their art, it’s been a double-edged sword.
In-person exhibitions and evenings of gathering with other artists at gallery openings have been replaced by the thriving world of online art. “I’ve been able to attend artist talks and lectures and to see studio visits online that I otherwise wouldn’t have had access to,” Pasipanodya tells us. “But the tough part has been the community aspect and not being able to connect with people locally unless you’re seeking them out.”
Pasipanodya’s own exhibition, one that they had been working towards prior to the pandemic, struck them with a particular chord of loss. Though their exhibit ended up occupying the window of Toronto’s Xpace Cultural Centre this spring, capturing the attention of those passing by, it’s no substitute for the intimate events and celebrations that normally come with the completion of a project.
But amid the many disappointments, “there have been pros and cons.”