Introduction to a Coronavirus Showcase by Editor-in-Chief of #DearAdultWorld
Calvin Ryerse, 18
It’s surreal. To watch history happen before my eyes, to be an active participant in what someday will be a paragraph in a history textbook is weird, to say the least. I can see it, AP US history students complaining to their teacher about having to read the last chapter of the textbook, because they already have so much studying to do before the national exam. Their eyes will flick over the big red heading that says CORONAVIRUS. They’ll glance at the terms social distancing and stay at home orders and there will be the curve of infections and deaths that rises and falls. It’ll all be crammed information for a test. History.
At the moment though, let’s all acknowledge the fact that this is hard. For a plethora of reasons that are different and heartbreaking for every one of us, this is some real shit that we’re living through. Whatever weird, dark, alternate timeline we have found ourselves in where we have a lying, narcissistic, emotionally-broken, sexist, reality-TV star as a leader during all of this too seems particularly cruel. Where we are couped-up in our homes, uncertain and afraid as we weather a storm that has no end in sight. Our only defense, the lonely and frugal job of not doing anything.
This collection of pieces from artists and writers from across the world are perhaps one-day primary sources that will show up on the AP US history exam. They reflect the anxieties and feelings of people who are watching the world change. As we wait in the liminal space of social distancing, we offer our words to the adult world of today and fifty years from now.
Cover Artwork by: Rawley Rudel, 17, him/his
The title of this piece is “Essential”. I made this image digitally through photo manipulation. This artwork contains the faces of different essential workers. The main subject of the work is a healthcare professional, followed by a grocery store worker, a nurse, a United States postal service driver, a police office, and a group of soldiers overtop the rest of the faces. The image also contains a garbage truck and a mail truck. What inspired me to make this piece was a new understanding of what it means to be on the “frontline” and what I should be appreciating as not only an American but as a human being.
Artwork by: Janelle Brosnan, 19, she/her
Throughout my teenage years, I felt famished by the world. I was not consuming food, but rather despair, hopelessness, and depression. I was internally rattled by the political climate, with it’s a seemingly bottomless pit of fascism and intolerance to positive change. I tried to decipher the world I would be maturing into whilst enduring the physical and mental effects of anorexia nervosa. I found myself in a state of unbearable weakness and defeat. After several months in medical treatment, I learned an important lesson: If there is nothing else to take, nothing else to gain, the only thing I can do is create. Art nourished me, it made me feel full.
I revisited the concept of “mise-en-scéne,” the visual theme and artful staging of a scene. If I am dissatisfied with what I see and what I feel, I must create my own mise-en-scene. I must gather the things I see to be true and beautiful and capture their immortality. For a moment in time, there is color, unity, and transparency. My photos are a direct reflection of the change I long to see and the beauty that already exists.
@janellebrosnan on Instagram