[Year in Review 2021] Constraints, creativity, connections – 50 inspiring quotes on arts in the pandemic era

The arts community was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic. But here’s how they bounced back –in 50 uplifting quotes!

[Year in Review 2021] Constraints, creativity, connections – 50 inspiring quotes on arts in the pandemic era

Wednesday December 29, 2021,

8 min Read

Launched in 2014, StoryBites is a regular feature from YourStory, featuring notable quotable quotes in our past articles. Share these gems and insights with your colleagues and networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights.

Artists, curators, gallerists and organisers of festivals and exhibitions share with us their insights on the importance and impact of art (see last year’s art quotes compilation here).

We have divided the quotes into five categories: Pandemic shock, Art as solace, Resilience, Online exhibitions, Reframe, and The road ahead.

The quotes and photos in this compilation are drawn from articles in our weekend PhotoSparks section on art and design, as well as other articles from HerStory, SocialStory and YourStory Weekender. See also our compilations of quotes on the occasion of World Art Day, World Heritage Day, and World Photography Day.

Make it a habit to check out YourStory’s Daily Capsule, and weekly quotes compilations StoryBites. Our Book Review section shares insights and takeaways from over 325 titles on creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, and digital transformation.

YourStory wishes the artistic community a Happy New Year ahead, with much success, fulfilment, and impact!


Crying little girl by Sriyadi Srinthil - MayinArt

Pandemic shock

The lockdown has been a very different experience in terms of art practice. While it gave time for reflection and exploration, it also brought about restlessness and anxiety. - Kanchan Rathna, Chitra Santhe

It has been a very difficult time, especially for artists who are so strongly dependent on social interactions. - Divya Deepika Jannu, Chitra Santhe

Wildlife photographers and filmmakers love to be in the field, and in that respect, the last two years have been tough. - Rohit Varma, Nature inFocus

In the pre-pandemic era, artisans were heavily dependent on exhibitions, trade shows, etc., all of which have collapsed now. - Maneet Gohil, Lal10

The pandemic broke the music industry worldwide, and demolished the systems in place. - Sonya Mazumdar, EarthSync

The pandemic affected us socially and mentally, as music is to be shared and played together. Unfortunately, we could not gather, share or socialise. - Sibusisiwe ‘Busi’ Ncube, Forde Festival

Artist - Dipti Madhukar Thakare

Artist - Dipti Madhukar Thakare

Art as solace

Creativity has been the light that has kept us bright when the world seems to have gone dark. - Sanjana Shah, Tao Art Gallery

Art is a real stress reliever if you fall in love with this beautiful world of colour and canvas. - Barnali Ray, Soulful Strokes

At the time of the pandemic, many messages were conveyed to public in an effective way through art. - Vasumathi Vasudevan, Maitree Utsav

With the pandemic escalating anxiety and other negative emotions, the value of music and music education was enhanced as people needed a creative outlet to vent themselves. - Tanuja Gomes, Furtados School of Music

If there is anything that has kept humanity during this difficult time with hope for the future, is precisely music. - Alfredo Caxaj, SUNFEST

Despite the difficulties of the pandemic, artists are a strong fraternity, and nothing can dilute their sound or their spirit. - Nanni Singh, ShowCase Events

Nisa Addina – Borneo Jazz Festival 2021, Virtual Edition

Nisa Addina – Borneo Jazz Festival 2021, Virtual Edition


Lockdown is for the people, not for creativity and imagination. - Kayal Vizhi, Chitra Santhe

Such crises could happen over and over again, but we shouldn’t lose hope. - Sarbani Chatterjee, Maitree Utsav

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. - Kirti Sarvesh Ranade, Chitra Santhe

You must keep going on. Giving up is neither an option nor a solution. - Neha Pradhan, Chitra Santhe

Performers have had the most difficult times. But brave and creative musicians have been working and recording music. - Torill Faleide, Forde Festival

Always keep working, whatever the conditions – because in a crisis, artists are tested for creativity and persistence. - Riki Antoni, MayinArt

Culturas 360, 2021

Culturas 360, 2021

Making artworks cannot be defeated by difficult situations. Of course, hard times and obstacles usually bring their own inspiration. - Meuz Prast, MayinArt

Keep the consistency going, because the earth needs more thinkers and positive colours spreading around. - Humera Ali, MayinArt

Artists realised that they all need to come together, and the only way to do that is by helping each other and sharing the information with each other. - Soumini Sridhara Paul, Hungama Artist Aloud

You may slow down but don’t give up. - Ankita Jain, Chitra Santhe

Per aspera ad astra, which means Through the hardships to the stars. - Anna Krzemińska, Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw

The most important thing to succeed is determination and a strong will, in addition to enthusiasm. It gives preparation to face the ups and downs of a career in art. - Fery Eka Chandra, MayinArt

Rajarshi Banerji – Nature inFocus 2021

Rajarshi Banerji – Nature inFocus 2021

Online exhibitions

The biggest advantage of online exhibitions is that distance does not matter. - Banani Kundu, Chitra Santhe

The online channel [for art exhibitions] saves travel time and transportation costs of art pieces. - Lakshmi Kesavan, Chitra Santhe

[An online exhibition] can accommodate a greater number of artists. It is more cost-effective for the organisers and comes with fewer management issues. - Mohit Verma

Under the current circumstances, online is the way to go. - Sharmila Aravind, Chitra Santhe

In the current COVID-19 situation, [online exhibitions] may be the only option. - Maitreyee Rajput, Chitra Santhe

Online exhibitions have appeared as an alternative, and enable us to be linked and active in these difficult times. - Mario Fuentes, Chitra Santhe

We live in the times of social media where engagement is everything. - Sourav Satpathy, Chitra Santhe

Artist - Swathi P N

Artist - Swathi P N

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the pace of technology adoption last year. Since then, almost every business is undergoing digital transformations, and the handicrafts sector is no exception. - Meet Shah, Craftezy

[Online art classes] helped children to relax even though other extra-curricular activities were absent. Artists also got more time to focus and produce more meaningful works. - Milna Sajee, Maitree Utsav

The pandemic changed art viewing patterns the world over and collectors became increasingly comfortable with buying online, which is great for the growth of Indian art. - Lisa Pingale, Monalisa Kalagram

Online is the new normal. Showcasing artworks in online galleries and social media platforms is more promising, and also has savings in cost and time. - Kavya Vyas, Chitra Santhe 2021

The advantages of online exposure are that there are no constraints of time, and viewers can come from anywhere in the world. - José Luis Hernández “Chepe”, Chitra Santhe

The disadvantage of online exhibitions is that there seems to be no difference between an A4 or a 6ft×6ft painting. - Priya Ghosh, Chitra Santhe

It's amazing how one was completely isolated physically, but yet at once was connected to a world of fellow artists online. - Joanne DeBrass, Chitra Santhe

Online exhibitions have appeared as an alternative, and enable us to be linked and active in these difficult times. - Mario Fuentes, Chitra Santhe

The pandemic has essentially shut down the events industry and thrown all business models out the window. - Jatin Varma, Comic Con

Summers and Silvola - Forde Festival 2021

Summers and Silvola - Forde Festival 2021

Reframe, reflect

The pandemic has been a great eye-opener for every human being to appreciate the beauty of life. - Rosy Mishra, Maitree Utsav

In a world where everyone likes to be in control, it’s tough to give that sense of surety up. - Sanjana Shah, Tao Art Gallery

It remains to be seen whether we will learn from what nature is teaching us about our arrogance.  - Jee Yuan Lim, Chitra Santhe

The pandemic called for drastic changes not only in the way we live, but forced society into introspection, questioning current scenarios, and planning fresh beginnings. - Ishana Girish, Chitra Santhe

Unlock by Rudragaud L Indi - MayinArt

Unlock by Rudragaud L Indi - MayinArt

The road ahead

When we get through this crisis, new ideas will flow and it will give new discourse to the world of art. - Tiarma Sirait, Chitra Santhe

We need to protect and not plunder the environment. - Anirban Sheth, Chitra Santhe

Life is never controlled by us – if it is so, then we can't call it life. - Khadeeja Anzaba, Chitra Santhe

There is no full stop when it comes to art; it is an eternal learning and exploration of your creativity. - Isha Hingrajiya, Chitra Santhe

Art means freedom – freedom that comes from within. - Neha Raibagi, Chitra Santhe

Art can be a good companion during crises like the pandemic. Anything that is creative helps in diverting depression caused by the lockdowns and restrictions. - Manoj Swain, Soulful Strokes

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).