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Views from quarantine

April 29, 2020

Inspired by “17 Artists Capture a Surreal New York From Their Windows” by The New York Times

On March 15, students were asked to pack up our rooms and return home. In the weeks since, the meanings of home and of being a part of the Columbia community have been put to the test of time and distance.

In the era of sheltering in place, no longer does the world outside simply determine the views from our windows; the views from our windows shape our perspectives of the world. We asked our illustrators on lockdown across the globe to draw what they see from their windows, giving us a glimpse into how they feel about living in this strange moment in history. Similarities reveal themselves through views of forests thousands of miles apart turning green together, while feelings of tranquility, fear, and relief struggle for the spotlight.

Perhaps learning to maintain a sense of community without the foundation of a physical space can teach us to appreciate the different places from which we come when we step foot on campus again.

“My space to explore has abruptly shrunk from NYC to my little room, and the suburbia outside my window seems distant and unfamiliar. Luckily, my cat constantly accompanies me in my endeavors to make the best use of my space (she slept behind me while I was painting this)!”

—Ashley Jiao, New Jersey

“It’s weird how normal everything outside looks and how normal I feel after having been inside for weeks.”

—Natalie Tak, Massachusetts

“Diesel (my dog) is so excited about quarantine because everyone is staying home with him.”

—Tina Wang, Taipei

“Waking up every morning to loud banging and screeching chainsaws—guess construction doesn't stop in quarantine.”

—Angela Wei, Vancouver

“It was a bit frightening to look out my window one day and see that the leaves were starting to grow back. I had lost track of time.”

—Helen Yang, New York

“It's strange, but New York felt more like home than this place ever did (not only because my nerdy architect mind hates everything about the design in suburbia).”

—Robert Hunter, Georgia

“At times I feel trapped in this indefinite pause, and then I look over at the trees outside my window, still swaying and totally unbothered.”

—Ellie Soh, Georgia

“I feel like time has stopped. My sense of the immediate future has been taken away. But weirdly, that’s a relief.”

—Liz Nichols, Colorado

“Basking with my cat in the warm sunlight, I wonder if spring flowers will bloom again by the time this all ends.”

—Brenda Huang, Pennsylvania

“I can’t really see anything.”

—Aaron Jackson, New York

“As an angsty teen I wrote on one of the pines, “time is a big tree” and I’ve never felt the sentiment more. My view has lately been gray, with overcast skies peering through the foliage, but I’m still looking out for color.”

—Liza Evseeva, Maryland

coronavirus COVID-19 views from here
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