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Scythes and monsters: Indonesian artists teach coronavirus care

Mural artist Sulis Listanto posing next to his artwork as local artists join the campaign in the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Depok, West Java. – AFP photos

From scythe-wielding monsters to a globe fending off coronavirus with an umbrella, a group of Indonesian artists has turned to wall murals to help stem a growing number of infections. The Jakarta-area artists saw orders for their work dry up as the pandemic hit and decided to use that extra time to paint the walls of their neighborhoods and educate the public about the deadly disease. “This unnecessary panic moved me to do these murals. I wanted to rebuild our spirit so we’ve got the positive energy back to fight against coronavirus,” said artist Sulis Listanto. “It’s easier to educate people through pictures.”

So Listanto painted a globe being attacked by the virus with the words “Save the world”. Another had a darker tone featuring a cat-like monster carrying a scythe with the words “Covid-19”. Fellow mural artist Yahya — who like many Indonesians goes by one name — was inspired to paint a colorful montage advising people to stay at home. “We used to paint murals at schools or cafes, but we don’t have any jobs now,” he said.

“Through this work we’re urging people to stay at home and to appreciate health workers.” “We tried to make the murals colorful and bright so they can radiate positive energy and keep people optimistic in this difficult time,” he said. As of Tuesday, 459 people had died of the virus with more than 4,800 confirmed cases, according to Indonesia’s government. – AFP

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