Discover  Lifestyle   ·   25 Feb   ·   12:02 PM   ·   2 minutes Read

Sanctuary: Making Art In The Time Of COVID-19

Credit: Richard Koh Fine Art / Justin Lim

As the saying goes, the show must go on. This is especially true for the world of art, which has taken a hard hit since the start of the pandemic. Still, artists continue to be fueled by their need to create.  As we head into Year 2 of living in a pandemic-stricken world, COVID-19 is starting to appear in the art and media landscape.

Take for example, this street mural depicting a nurse as superhero in Amsterdam by FAKE.

Credit: FAKE

Or this insertion of a Thai-style angel by Nakrob Moonmanas into Vincent Van Gogh’s Bedroom In Arles, which the artist named Isolation Odyssey.

Credit: Nakrob Moonmanas / Bangkok Post


For Malaysian artist Justin Lim, who graduated from LaSalle College of the Arts with a Masters in Fine Arts in 2006, the pandemic was the perfect time to paint his feelings. He produced a collection of twelve paintings, which he named Sanctuary.

Credit: @ilhamgallerykl

Painted in direct response to being “trapped in the pandemic”, Sanctuary takes place entirely inside residential spaces. It features motifs such as gigantic gates and windows, from where nature can be seen flourishing outside. Huge, monochromatic paintings of nature also feature heavily in the background of several paintings, perhaps reflecting that even the biggest canvases cannot compare to being outside in an actual green space.

Credit: Richard Koh Fine Art / Justin Lim

The people in Justin Lim’s Sanctuary series are painted from his own personal photographs of his friends and acquaintances. They appear in the paintings as cut-and-paste figures, which don’t quite fit in with the rest of the painting. The composition of the paintings is also quite claustrophobic, which we are sure will resonate with anybody from larger families who were trapped at home during the Circuit Breaker.

Credit: Richard Koh Fine Art / Justin Lim

There’s even a surrealistic depiction of an indoor pool party, where people drink against walls featuring trees against a purple sunset as others frolic in the water. The yearning for outside activity and big, green spaces is palpable.

Richard Koh Fine Art Gallery

You can view all twelve paintings at Richard Koh Fine Art Gallery.

Although admission is free, we recommend giving the folks at the gallery a call ahead of time if you’re planning to go. Due to safe distancing measures, visitor slots may be limited!

Credit: @iamjustinlim

Address: Blk 47 Malan Road, #01-26 Gillman Barracks

Time: Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 7pm
Closed on Sundays, Mondays & Public Holidays

Sanctuary will be on exhibition from 26 February through 20 March 2021.