Hi everyone! My name is Jillian and I’ll be taking over Off-Campus Art News! What I love most about being an artist and being a part of this great community is how art connects us all, and I’m excited to use this platform to take part in that.
Being in a pandemic has changed the world we live in. We suddenly became separated, causing us to feel disconnected from each other. Many of us found solace in facetime calls, text messages, and posts on social media. For those in the art world, the pandemic has made it difficult for us to do one of the most crucial things: seeing art on display. Fortunately, our access and frequent use of social media has not only kept us connected to each other, but to art as well!
At the beginning of the pandemic, my mom talked about a Facebook group she had joined that had members post images of their views while in quarantine. She gushed about the images she saw, clearly excited to experience the world from so many different places. However, it had stopped accepting new posts in the summer when places had begun opening back up. I had forgotten about it until my mom recently told me that the group was now accepting new pictures.
The group, View From My Window, was created by Barbara Duriau, a graphic designer who resides in Amsterdam, in late March of 2020. By April, the group had over 2 million members. Duriau hoped to use the group to bring people from all over the world together by asking them to share the sights from their windows. Through the group, a love for the visual world was reinforced as images flooded in displaying the beautiful colors, shapes, and forms of the earth.
This image is one of my favorites from the group. It was taken in Norway by a woman named Trine Vik. I love this image especially because of the reflections in the water. I also love the orange hues of the landscape that contrast against the blues and purples of the sky and water. Although the composition of the photo is beautiful, my love for it is for a much simpler reason. This view is my favorite because it reminds me of a similar photo my best friend took a few years ago for our Portfolio Prep class. It was an image of a rocky landscape that reflected in the water. I remember helping her edit it to bring out the oranges, similar to those seen in Vik’s image. We listened to our favorite music and tried not to talk too much so we wouldn’t get in trouble. This photograph transported me back to one of my favorite art classes, where I got to spend 40 minutes every day with some of my best friends. In Vik’s image, I found friendship.
Here are some more views that I love:
What I discovered in these images is what the Facebook group is all about – using art to find connections between individuals who have never met to reinforce the idea that we are all facing the world together. Many of the images were accompanied by a story: a healthcare worker talking about a patient, a mother planning a birthday drive-by for her daughter’s 15th birthday, and a woman who spoke of her father passing away. Each story was met with comments from strangers around the world who empathized with and related to them. This group proved that, although everyone has their own story, we are never truly alone.
Duriau eventually decided that the images could not remain virtual, so she decided to put as many as she could into a book. On November 18, 2020, the View From My Window book was released. With 400 pages filled with 260 images from around the world and stories about each view, this book is a physical reminder of how, when we became isolated, art continued to bring us together.
If you’d like to, you can purchase the book here for $38 dollars. The book has an English and French version! A part of the proceeds goes to UNICEF to aid in their efforts to help with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Whether or not you buy the book, I hope you’ll take a look at the group when you have the chance. Find your favorite images. Leave a comment and tell me how each one made you feel. Maybe in them you’ll find reminders of your childhood home, your favorite vacation spot, or your loved ones. Maybe you’ll remember summer nights with your friends, the thrill of a trip to the city, or the quiet of an early morning jog. Humans have the innate desire to find beauty and art in everything; perhaps in art we can find humanity.