Images in the Corona Rear-view Mirror

Images in the Corona Rear-view Mirror

Images in the Corona Rear-view Mirror

Coping with a new normality as the COVID-19 pandemic become a reality in 2021. The first and second-year Graphic Design students used both physical & electronic mediums to execute & express their conceptual “unmasked” views & experiences in their artwork, as a personal past reflection or future imaginings about the virus or pandemic. 

On a deeper level, the mediums also link subconsciously to the past reflection or future imaginings, by using physical (contact) and electronic (contactless/ social distancing) mediums to convey their expressions of the virus and pandemic we are currently experiencing in our constrained, restricted flow of natural movement. 

Title: Reflection

The work features a man in a cold and dark environment trying to stay warm in frontof a digital fire. It was made in photoshop and is 5000 x 5000 pixels. Everyone has been struggling during the pandemic and one of those struggles (specifically the one Istruggledwith) is isolation. With Everyone working from home it felt as if we could easily talk to and see friends and family through the internet, but it still left people feeling cold and isolated. Everyone was forced to adapt to seeing each other through digital screens and while this isn’t new,I don’t think we’ve seen it at such a massive scale, leading us to see now more than ever the flaws of limiting our social interactions to a screen making Everyone feel detached and distant. The man in the picture seems almost trappedand unable to leave the fire, but all that’skeeping him there is the headset. I think we need to take time off from starting at a screen and getting bombarded with news of death and disaster. While going outside isn’t easy,now,time spent either talking to friends and family or just being outside has helped me cope with a lot of the depression,I think everyone has experienced. Technology while as amazing as it is, lacks the warmth people receive from one another and so Idecided to try and symbolize that coldness through a digital fire.

Artist: Andre van Eeden

Medium: Digital Vector Illustrationand graphite pencil on paper

Title: Reflection

I picked this category because I can mostly relate to this category. In the beginning, before everyoneknew how deadly this is, we treatedit like a joke. At campus, we signed forms in 2019 to say we wantto stay at home for our safety and then only 3 days after that South Africa was put on level 5lockdown. Everything changed that day. Nobody was ready for that announcement. But what couldwe do? It was best for us to keep us save.I picked this category to show how my life change during the locked down. There were no more socialgatherings for us. Therefore, everything went online. In the first locked down, I was miles away frommy friends.I only had my mom with me. In addition, the campus was closedbut we needed to keepgoing. It was not like the schools that was totally close. All my classes were online and that was theonly way we could communicate with our lectures and classmates. Every day at 8 o’clock class wouldstart like normally when we could go campus. It was not easy to have online class. I was at that timea first-year student and face-to-face classes started beginning of February and lock down startmiddle of March. We did nothave much of face-to-face class before locked down.Therefore, with my design I want to show how things changed. Wewere communicating via ourmobile devices to keep us going and tried to stay positive during the difficult time.

Artist: Daniel Erasmus

Medium: Digital Vector Illustration

Title: Reflection

The concept behind my artwork is very simple but powerful. The teary eye contains theearth within as the iris, this is a representation of all the sorrows and pain everyonetogether as a whole world has endured during Covid-19 pandemic. The virus has been sodeadly that we as a world have seen the hell of its consequences and have all shed tears forthose that have been lost. The tears represent another lost soul that Covid-19 has stolenfrom this world. The jar is a presentation of the confinement and restriction that thepandemic has brought upon us, as life hasn’t been the same since, we have been in aconstant lockdown that has jumped between levels 1-5 for over 400 days now. At themoment it feels as there is no escape, we are drowning slowly each-and-every single daywith no way of escape as life will never be the same again, this is what the rising water fromthe tears represent. The person within the jar is wearing a mask with a smiley face on it,this shows how now more than ever, we truly are hiding behind ‘masks’ because eventhough the physical mask has a smiley on it, behind the mask there is no smile, there is justpain. The whiteness of the person’s iris is a small detail that shouldn’t be slept on, it showshow dull the world has become in the sight of the global pandemic, it showcases howhopeless we have become, our once beautiful, hopeful visionary take on the world is gone,and it’s all just become ‘meh’. The words of Covid-19 are in repetition to show that this virusis constantly surrounding us, constantly being a factor in today’s times.

Artist: Dylan Frade

Medium: Digital Vector Illustration

Title: Future

The concept behind my design is to illustrate an idyllic day in a worldthat is clean, safe, and prosperous.I combined elements of architectural futurism and engineering, withnature and wide-open spaces to give a sense of balance between thenatural and the man made.The scene just depicts a regular day (something I feel I took for granted pre-Covid), where people go about their lifewithout the concerns of a pandemic and the effects it can have on the simplest aspects of your life. I intentionally decided to not use overtly covid-19 imagery, or imagery pertaining to a pandemic, as I feel that many people around the world are at a point where they feel dismal and downtrodden by the constant reminder of a pandemic that as severely affected most of the world’s population and is on its 3rd year of being a dominant factor in all our lives.The message I chose to convey with my design is one of hope. That we as humanity will move on from this pandemic and that we shouldaspire to make the best of this world we can.That there is a world after this pandemic we can create that istechnically advanced, where everyone has access to food, healthcare, education infrastructure, and equality a future that is bright and promising.

Artist: Edmund Sands

Medium: Digital Vector Illustration

Title: Reflection

The covid-19 pandemic that started in 2020 had a huge impact on every singleperson in this world, and it influenced so many things. My generation in particulartook to social media.The pandemic forced all of us inside and as we all know it moved most thingsonline. Social media grew exponentially during the lock down, it also changed with abreath-taking pace, trends came and went fasterthan we could keep up. This changedid not stay on social media though, we saw movements come to life and addressserious, real-life issues.Platforms like Instagram and Tik-Tok became places where you could expressyourselfand voice your opinion on various things. It became the place to be open about alot of problems, it is no longer just a social platform, it is used to address injusticeand social misconceptions and people listened, and society grew.One of the things that grew a lot on social media is the body positivity movement,body positivity activism is about promoting self-love and understanding that everyonedeserves love, respect, and kindness despite any physical differences they mayhave from what society deems “perfect.” I’m an activistbecause I want every singleperson on this planet to know how beautiful they are just as they are. There is noone way anyone should look or act.The movement is a great reminder to love yourself and your imperfections becausethey make you who you are.

Artist: Esmaralda van Staden

Medium: Digital Vector Illustration

It’s a bad nightmare…What’s going to happen now …? The world is standing still, but the clock keeps ticking…I am not allowed to go to work, but debts still need to be paid! The norm of normalcy changed in the blink of an eye. The planned course we were on was blocked -forced to stop! There is no time for turning around and walking back, no…. we had to quickly jump from a well-planned direction to a new course without planning. A New Plan, A New strategy! Nothing is working out…I’m distraught! I’m irritated! I’m worried! Late at night, I lie down to further battle with my problems whispering to myself –’You need to try and sleep now!’I need to just wake up from this bad nightmare….wake up… Wake Up…WAKE UP!

Only listing to the bad news of the Covid 19 virus in China during2019, the problem seemed so far away. Never even considering the possibility that this disaster could even strike us. The year 2020 barely started, when Covid 19 brought a solid STOP to all our plans. The sketch reflects on the unknown that we entered in March 2020. Everything changed! I was hopelessly despaired. Worrying not only about the virus and the massive impact it can have on me and our loved one’s health but adding problems like work, money, debt, food that kept us stressed out and keeping us awake at night. This literally felt like a bad nightmare, just wanting to wake up from it.

Alicia Swanepoel

Smooth Cartridge Paper/ Different Pencils/ Digital Adjustments Size:A2

Covid-19 lockdown, the mask we must wear everywhere we go, and that bounded us in our houses at the end. The boredom that got to us for sitting in a house not being able to see our people. Sitting on the same chair for months and reading the book in your hand three times over or in a teenager’s case, draining your phone’s battery on Tik Tok or Instagram. The type of contact we had with our friends was on social media or the family gatherings in the living room if Uncle Cyril had some more bad news for us. The pictures posted weren’t the real face of what was happening, but only an act to show that you were still okay but inside you knew your eyes showed the dark places you’ve been in the last couple of weeks. The house mask represents us wearing masks but stopped because we had to stay at home, some were saved, and others were not. Not everybody had it easy to stay at home, others were put in a more difficult situation for being home than just going to school or work. Masks didn’t always protect us because we still got covid in the end some way or another and had to say goodbye to some of the people closest to us. That is the second you realised that Covid was a serious thing and that it was not going to go away fast. Covid was not dead, nor a myth, and the bodies proved it to us. We lost family and friends and had to put flowers on graves we never thought we had to. The little white flowers with tears on them that you squeezed so hard because you didn’t want to let go of them nor of the person. The flowers replaced the look of Covid-19. It was a disguise to make the thought of Covid not look so bad but deep down we knew it was not soon to be over.

Bianca Havenga

Watercolour, Pen & Ink on paper

The Covid-19 virus, which most never saw coming as it ignited a pandemic with no existing vaccination present to deal with its global spread as governments worldwide started coming up with strategies to contain this virus as hospital capacities proved inefficient to deal with the number of cases. The image I designed represents mainly lockdown and the ineffective nature of it, for even though it reduced covid-19 cases, people who stayed indoors were sitting ducks for those who went outdoors for supplies and food. The bars represent our houses which are supposed to shield us from covid, but as you can see some viruses manage to enter our houses as well proving that staying indoors was no cure but merely a precaution to reduce the risk of catching covid-19. The bars also represent how people felt during the wretched time of lockdown, trapped and isolated, lonely with their freedom stripped away and their mobility contained to just the small vicinity of their homes. The cracks on the models face on the artwork represents how people couldn’t take being restrained anymore and that some were internally cracking cause of the lockdown in terms of their depression, loneliness, and lack of an escape from their confinement as many weren’t used to being at their places full time. The different layered bars show how some people were in multiple prisons, the confinement enforced by law, and that which is a result of their depression or loneliness. Some people felt trapped behind multiple bars as they would work from home and couldn’t go anywhere to unwind as most situations in different households differ, some have plenty of space while others don’t. The small masks show that even if people did wear masks it didn’t fully protect them against the virus, but it was just a precaution to help reduce the risk of contracting it. The different-looking covid-19 viruses show how they were further variants that we’re able to adjust to some existing vaccines and how some people suffered even though they had taken vaccines.

David Rakgole

Digital photomanipulation

Covid really didn’t have a good effect on me…in lockdown, I felt like I couldn’t breathe… like there was no escape. It was just me, myself, and I. I drew this picture because it is how I felt during Covid, wearing this mask had me longing to smell fresh air and flowers without catching the virus…the mask was a cage I was captured in my emotions and my freedom hidden beneath all of it no one knowing what is going on…Covid-19 had a massive impact on me and my whole family… some we have lost and some we have gained, and people will never understand the seriousness about corona until you have lost someone you couldn’t say goodbye to because of social distancing and not being able to visit in a hospital. Hopefully, we can breathe normally again without having to wear masks. The Flowers represents the freedom and longing for fresh air we crave behind the face masks. Everyone has suffered during this pandemic, and everyone has lost something, family members, loved ones, friends, jobs, houses, education, memories…Together we can work together and go against Covid and make it go extinct and be able to be free like the flowers out there.

Demi de Wit

Graphite pencil on Paper

Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, a lot has changed. People have lost hope and faith that tomorrow will be better. Stress and anxiety have consumed so many people. This digital painting depicts nothing but hopes she gazes into the future. Even though most of the design is desaturated, the eyes are saturated because they see better tomorrow, a better future. The desaturated part symbolises a void and loneliness caused by the pandemic, as well as the fact that we must cover up to half our face with a mask, but the eyes are always visible. The girl has a soft smile which shows that even though things are tough, she is choosing to be positive rather than being swallowed whole by the negativity around her. See the glimpse of colour, reach out and grab it. Let your eyes lead you to a better and brighter future.

Jana Koen

Digital painting

I selected category I: Unmasked (Reflections & perspectives of creativity & innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic), which lead me to illustrate a hand-drawn illustration with a pencil as the medium, which is an art medium I am most comfortable with. I illustrated a grandmother lovingly holding and hugging her granddaughter through a plastic tarp with plastic gloves. This displaces reflections, perspectives of creativity, and innovation in the COVID-19 pandemic by means of finding a solution to the problem of not being allowed to hug or physically touch your loved ones as everyone is at risk of infecting each other with the virus unknowingly. Using a plastic tarp to allow loved ones to hug during a pandemic is an innovative solution. We live in difficult times where we are not allowed physical human interaction unless we follow the necessary procedures to do so. During lockdown and the other levels of confinement, the statistics of suicides and depression sky-rocketed because people became more emotional from staying indoors and not seeing friends or loved ones, and not having much to do at home. We as humans are interactive, social, and physical beings. We need to interact and communicate with other people to thrive and stay alive. The people in this picture found a way to do just that by hugging through the plastic tarp to get the physical contact they needed with a loved one. I chose to do the sketch in grey pencils only to depict the difficult times during COVID-19 that we all face together.

Magdaleen van Niekerk

Pencil on paper

With the pandemic in the air and Lockdown in the way, people took what they love to the streets. Because of social distancing people were not allowed to communicate physically and with that some people got creative. They opened their balcony doors and played music without breaking any of the COVID-19 regulations from one balcony to the next. Neighbours sang their favourite songs and came together. This was a sign of love that even though the COVID-19 is here, it cannot stop people from doing what they love. It shows that people can still come together and love each other with the COVID-19 in the air. The music and love did not die or go away just because the virus is here.

Maria Mathole

Black fine-liner on paper

The artwork I designed is called self-isolation. The work consists out of a house on dying grass. This is my representation of self-isolation during the 2019 covid pandemic. It represents how I felt during the pandemic. Going from having the freedom to go and travel anywhere in the world and do anything and everything a person wanted to do to being placed in your house and told you are not allowed to leave. From going out with friends parting and hanging out with them to not seeing them for more than 5 months. From doing part-time work and making extra money to losing my job because of covid. The self-isolation for a social person like me was like being put in a glass prison, not being able to be around people and laugh and have fun with them was hell. Only being able to view them through a screen is not the same as face to face. My whole life changed in a blink of an eye. It felt like being packed up and put in a jar and being put on a shelf and just watching time fly by and seeing the world go on and being stuck on a shelf and not being able to do anything about it.

Riko Swanepoel

Digital image manipulation

Image references:
•Jacques, C 2017, image, Unsplash, viewed 08 August 2021

•Stackpoole, L 2018, Cute Cabine, image, Unsplash, viewed 08 August 2021

•Murno Studio 2021, The simplicity of an empty jar with lid, image, Unsplash, viewed 08 August 2021,

My artwork shows that due to Covid, more businesses have begun to rely on artificial intelligence while their employees stay at home. It shows that even though artificial intelligence is at the forefront of a company, we still need human intelligence to communicate with artificial intelligence. The 4thIndustrial Revolutionbegun before Covid came, but Covid has pushed more businesses to think about the future and how they need to change to stay relevant. After Covid, I see more companies incorporating artificial intelligence into the way they run their businesses. More people will be able to work from home and businesses will have fewer offices, which means they will have more money to spend on their production, leading them to further opportunities to use artificial intelligence. The man symbolises the business as well as the human intelligence needed to operate artificial intelligence. The robotic hand symbolises the future of businesses and the artificial intelligence that they will need to move forward in the new digital age.

Sarah Michelle

Pen on textured paper


October 6, 2021


  • Suria de Beer

    Proud of my students & lecturer for the quality creative work they produce.

    Reply October 20, 2021 at 9:09 am
  • Samuel Mofokeng

    Great work coming from Centurion Academy as always – Brilliant talent & perspective!

    Reply October 20, 2021 at 10:03 am
  • Karien Pretorius

    Wow! So proud of our students. It shows that hard work bears fruit.

    Reply October 20, 2021 at 10:06 am
  • Sibelle Fourie

    Stunning work! Well done to Centurion Academy’s students and lecturers! You should be extremely proud.

    Reply October 20, 2021 at 10:28 am
  • Jonathan Bloomer

    Brilliant! So proud of CA and our students.

    Reply October 20, 2021 at 10:34 am
  • George Smith

    Well done. Some of the artworks tells a story of hope. It is important never to loose faith and hope.

    Reply October 20, 2021 at 10:41 am
  • Leonie van der Westhuizen

    You can feel very proud of your students’ expressions of a very challenging time in our lives.
    It is so artistic and show their commitment to their work.

    Reply October 20, 2021 at 11:16 am
  • Tersia Baird

    Amazing talent and creativity.
    These students conveyed important messages that are portrayed so beautifully and accurately through all the different mediums and styles used in their art.
    Well done!

    Reply October 20, 2021 at 11:52 am
  • Linda de Vos

    Brilliant work Centurion Academy. Something to be very proud of – and a true eye opener and reminder of what we endured and continue to endure. also a message of hope

    Reply October 20, 2021 at 2:42 pm

Leave a reply