Who's the Virus?

In such stressful times, many artists find outlets in creating, painting, or sketching. As Xenophobia arises from COV-ID19, artists have the chance to spread awareness through art and to comment on society while in quarantine. 

As reports of Asian hate crimes continue to, Korean-Swedish artist Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom created a series of one-panel comics to bring attention to the rising xenophobia in the world. 

Sjöblom’s art series relates to the trending hashtag, #IAmNotAVirus, which started with French Asians as a response to many racist incidents due to COV-ID19. Sjöblom now uses her artwork, based off of real events, to bring more attention to #IAmNotAVirus.

The following one-panel comic by Sjöblom depicts a true event reported in Gothenburg, Sweden. The incident involves a 15-year-old Singaporean girl, born and raised in Sweden, who was told to get off of the tram purely because of her race. 

Throughout her series, Sjöblom condemns xenophobic attacks that are not only physical and verbal, but also smaller microagressions. 

“It’s more like a feeling that you recognize when you are used to being subjected to racism, which is glances and people moving away,” explains Sjöblom.

The artist notes that the whole situation is strange; the Asian community usually goes less noticed in society. Now, the community is finally getting attention as a result of rising hate crimes.

Sjöblom always considered other artists who share their opinions on controversial, political issues through art as inspirational figures. Hence, when she heard about rising xenophobic attacks, she felt needed others to understand how unjust and despicable the act was. 

Sjöblom also points out that she chose to show her thoughts because in a lot of situations, people tend to care more when there is an illustration involved: “A lot of things that I comment on, which are often seen as quite controversial,” said Sjöblom, “people tend to understand it better or show more empathy when they see my drawings.”

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