Pandemic-inspired street art in Canada and around the world

Around the world, street artists, including world-renowned ones such as Banksy and Kobra, are creating pandemic-inspired street art.

Banksy, Kobra and others create wall art in the time of COVID-19

Street artist Lapo Fatai, right, finishes a mural in honour of medical workers, next to the Auxological San Luca hospital in Milan, Italy, on April 30. (Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)

While so many of us are under orders to stay at home, street artists are taking the opportunity to create pandemic-inspired art intended for public view.

Here's a look at some of the COVID-19-inspired street art created on apartment buildings, down alleys and under bridges, turning heads and lifting the spirits of those who see it, around the world and in Canada.

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Below, artist Lionel Stanhope paints a mural that adds protective gloves to his version of the 17th Century painting Supper at Emmaus, by Italian artist Caravaggio in Ladywell, south-east London, on May 5. "I think a lot more street artists that I know of, who would normally paint their own kind of work, are just putting a twist on it to make it relevant, and to maybe thank the NHS or key workers, or message about the coronavirus," Stanhope told Reuters, speaking of the U.K.'s National Health Service.

(Hannah McKay/Reuters)

Stanhope also recently completed a mural tribute to health-care workers under a bridge near London's busiest rail station, Waterloo, and close to St Thomas's hospital, where U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was treated for COVID-19.

(Simon Dawson/Reuters)


Here, famed Brazilian mural artist Eduardo Kobra paints his recent work, Coexistence, which shows children wearing face masks due bearing Buddhist, Christian and Judaic symbols, in Itu, approximately 100 km from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

(Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images)

Political message

Not all the art is uplifting. The graffiti in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is critical of the country's president, Jair Bolsonaro, seen putting on a protective face mask with a variation of the Portuguese word for "coward" written on it. Bolsonaro has called the virus "a little flu," criticized state governors for imposing restrictions supported by health experts and fired the country's health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta.

(Silvia Izquierdo/The Associated Press)

Game Changer

A member of staff has their photograph taken in front of a painting by street artist Banksy, entitled Game Changer, which has gone on display to staff and patients at Southampton General Hospital in Southampton, England. The new painting will be on display at the hospital until after the lockdown, and it will then be auctioned for NHS charities, according to the BBC.

(Andrew Matthews/PA/The Associated Press)

Girl with a Pierced Eardrum

Another wall mural by Banksy, titled Girl with a Pierced Eardrum after the famouse Johannes Vermeer painting Girl with a Pearl Earring, has had a protective face mask added at Hannover Place in Bristol. It's not known whether Banksy, whose identity is a closely guarded secret, or somebody else attached the fabric face mask to the painted girl.

(Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Thank you

A group of Toronto artists have created several murals around the city that are spreading positive messages to Torontonians as they face the COVID-19 pandemicHere, artist Christina Mazzulla works on a "thank you" mural on Yonge Street in Toronto.

(Timothy Neesam/CBC)

The artwork, seen here completed and alongside a mural by artist @ShinobiStudios, is part of a series of images on boards that protect closed stores and restaurants. The work is coordinated by the Yonge Downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA) and arts collective @Kadence.World. 

(Michael Wilson/CBC)

Public health information

This COVID-19 mural by artist Smokey D is located on Carrall Street in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. The artist, whose real name is Jamie Hardy, hopes to communicate accurate public health information while countering stereotypes about the community.

Two people walk past a mural urging health precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19.

(Ben Nelms/CBC)

Encouraging art

Serigne Boye, aka, Zeus, a graffiti artist from RBS crew, works on his mural to encourage people to protect themselves from the COVID-19 outbreak in Dakar, Senegal.

(Zohra Bensemra/Reuters)

Safety first

People walk past a mural by artists from Mathare Roots Youth Organisation advocating safety practices in the Mathare slum in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. The street art campaign is designed to teach people tangible ways they can protect themselves and their community from the coronavirus. The wall art includes local slang, called sheng, to get the message across.

(Thomas Mukoya/Reuters) 

Beware of COVID-19

This mural warns residents of the danger of coronavirus outbreak, and exhorts everyone to "stay safe" and "stay strong," on the Navajo reservation, in Shiprock, N.M. Members of the Navajo community are suffering disproportionately high rates of coronavirus fatalities, twice the U.S. national per capita rate, according to Navajo Department of Health data.

(Andrew Hay/Reuters)

Uplifting message

An artist uses the platform of a cherry picker while working on a mural that covers the side of an apartment building. The mural is dedicated to medical specialists, policemen and armed forces personnel involved in the fight against the coronavirus in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

(Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters)

Kazakhstan declared a state of emergency in mid-March, locking down the country to curb the spread of the disease. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said last month he would let the state of emergency elapse in mid-May unless there was a spike in fresh coronavirus cases.

With files from Reuters, The Associated Press and Getty Images

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