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Artists' Pandemic: Howra Salaheddin

Interview By Maia Poon

Art in all its forms is so essential for our emotional wellbeing, learning about others’ lives, and sharing our own stories. Especially now, with June 2020 being Pride Month, a pivotal moment for the Black Lives Matter movement, and in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the role of art is shifting but more important than ever. I had the opportunity to provide a platform for multidisciplinary artists and writers through online interviews, and they each had something unique to share. Keep creating!

Howra Salaheddin


Writer and Artist


Guilan, Iran

1. Do you feel more or less connected to your art during social isolation?

I think this question is a bit tricky for me. I feel less connected to the world which is definitely my main source of ideas and inspiration, but at the same time, I’m having more time to create. I’m looking at old pictures I took and rereading passages I underlined in a café and this longing I feel for my daily life pushes me to create something. It’s funny really.

2. Have you seen any noticeable changes in the subjects of your art?

Yes, before it was very insightful and “humane,” I guess, but being so alone with my own thoughts and mind lately has made me go back to the obvious. Drawing fruits and writing about things we all know about because I think there are new secrets of our life pre-quarantine being revealed right now that deserve to be talked about too.

3. Why is art important right now, with the pandemic and civil unrest around the world?

It’s simple really. Look at the best infographics for COVID, look at what people are doing to calm down, look at how people and businesses are trying to sell their masks. Art is everywhere and it’s even more obvious during this time. Art as an escape is also needed because it takes you away to any place or time you want to be, or it explains things you can’t explain for yourself. I’ve realized that this is the biggest help I could ask for in these tiring times.

4. How can art be used to share typically marginalized voices?

My own culture, Iranian and Gilaki, is full of poems and beautiful words that explain things you don’t normally have a word for [in English]; that in itself is a new perspective of the world and a humanity that this culture brings. That’s the most important thing about sharing and preserving different cultures, how others’ worldviews change ours. And not only the beautiful things, but the ugly truths that anyone outside of a certain culture most likely doesn’t know about. The pain deserves to be heard. The same goes for many LGBT+ artists, the way they deal with being human and understanding oneself and acceptance is definitely very unique and helpful. So letting every group speak for themselves and share their own wisdom instead of taking up spaces and silencing artists is really important.


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