Description of a struggle room one

This Isolation Collection begins in Prague, in an even more Kafkaesque climate than usual. Artists witness and reflect upon world events, and for those of us who cannot stop being productive, even in lockdown, we have created this platform.

We have invited international artists to share their thoughts, stories and works relating to and/or born during these unusual and transformative times...

Brant Kingman

Wow! I am completely overwhelmed thinking how to organize my thoughts about what I witnessed of the protests following the murder of George Floyd by a police officer only 3.5 miles from my house here in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - a state until now best known for its cold, snowy winters and for fishing in summer on its more than 10,000 bucolic lakes.

I briefly attended the site of the protests and murder on Friday, May 29th - four days after Floyd died. I had not seen the videos of his arrest and knew of what was happening primarily through radio news reports on Minnesota Public Radio. My brief attendance gave me the feeling that I needed to see more so I went back to Chicago and 38th about midday on Saturday the 30th on my bike.

The peaceful gathering in the intersection was attended by a vast assortment of people who seemed to have come for the same reason I had — to find out what had happened on their own. I felt like a tourist and most of the people attending seemed to be tourists. Almost everyone wore a mask, so meetings and conversations were considerably inhibited. I biked around for a while to find out how extensive the protests had been.

Damage was much more extensive than I had realized. I saw burned-out stores, buildings and cars all over a half mile long stretch of Lake Street and over an even longer stretch of University Avenue in St. Paul, the twin of our Twin Cities and Minnesota’s capital.

I visited the sites of protest damage again on Sunday and helped clear concrete debris from a sidewalk. Thousands of other people were out with brooms doing the same thing. Most seemed to be doing completely inconsequential activities like sorting glass from brick, but what was amazing was the spirit of community effort.

During my outings I took pics and made some quick sketches. I might have left it there had I not gotten a message from Isolation Collection curator Robert Carrithers asking if I’d like to participate in Description of a Struggle. Robert and I had been acquainted 35 years ago in the Lower East Side of Manhattan where we both participated in the activities of a small, underground, creative club called Club 57. Then, in 2017 and 2018, we contributed art to an exhibit about the artistic activities of Club 57 at MoMA.

So these are some of my impressions of the struggle I witnessed here during the first news event to break the pandemic’s global lock on the media.

I Give Up | 72"h x 48"w | Pastel, Crayon & Acrylic on Arches | 2020 / Center Stage | Acrylic on Canvas | 52” x 108” | 2020 / Target @ Ground Zero | Oil Crayon on Rag Board | 18.5" x 22" | 2020 / Target | Oil Crayon on Rag Board | 16"h x 20"w | 2020 / Try New Things | Pastel & Crayon on Arches | 48"h x 54"w | 2020 / We Stand 4 Justice | Oil Crayon on Rag Board | 20" h x 14"w | 2020

Brittany Kennedy

Brooklyn, New York

I gave birth to my son Phoenix in an ambulance on February 13, 2020. My good luck rainbow Valentine baby came on one of the unluckiest years I have ever witnessed the universe go through. I have not left my home in 3 months during this pandemic. I am indoors with my newborn son 24/7 alone until his father gets off of work. This piece is an acrylic painting on a 18 x 24 sheet of sketch paper. I had all the materials at home already and made use of the reality of being in isolation. Unable to go to the store as I didn’t want to risk catching the virus and certainly didn’t want to send anyone to select a canvas for me I made due with what I had. This self portrait reflects my thoughts and fears about COVID19 coupled with the reality of the times we are living in. The political climate is at an all time high regarding the matters of racism post George Floyd’s murder and as a black woman in America and mother to a black son I feel these thoughts emanating from the core of my soul. I created this piece oftentimes with my son in my lap as I breastfed him. The emotions I feel being a new mother in this time is incredible. Life as we know it will never be the same and dare Eye say I am excited.

Beate Linne

spun in my cocoon, warm and comfortable

silence -

like under water

breath, heartbeat

no past, no future -


If a situation cannot be changed, it is best to make friends with it and take a new perspective.

So I did in the time of the lock down.

And little by little I didn't feel isolated at all.

It's rather the feeling of freedom and independence. The calm gives me strength to recharge my batteries and concentrate on myself.

No pressure and no outside expectations.

Observing nature gives me certainty. Things come and go.

I imagine what it would be like to go on like this. For how long would I be happy with the situation? I'm not afraid of it at the moment.

Possibly the slow reopening comes too quickly for me. And the absurd struggle in the world of competition and dependencies starts again soon.

A few month ago, I started to create the video that was supposed to be the background for a live performance. I stopped working on it, because during the lock down there was no possibility anyway, to present the live performance.

I then decided to show the performance in front of the camera and combined the background video with the documentation of the performance.

…the way things turn out…

Video: 9:45 min / Live Performance: 15 min

Zoha Zafran

The lockdown in Dubai, UAE and the whole situation definitely has supported Zoha to sharpen her skills on art, we as her parents are surprised glimpsing her work done during this period.

Zoha has always been very passionate about art and crafts, in fact art is everything to her, it had always been her way of expressing herself.

She loves pop art.

Linda Tolbert

Photo Credit: Melissa Davis


Character: Soul Sista #1

Super powers: LOVE, TRUTH, SOUL

LOVE Power Gives Soul Sista #1:

1. The ability to generate an impenetrable force field of love

2. The ability to know the answer to all problems

3. The ability to transcend time and space

4. The ability to transform hate into love

5. The ability to detect & heal pain

6. The ability to kick hate's ass

TRUTH Power Gives Soul Sista #1:

1. The ability to free the mind from illusions

2. The ability ​​to stand the test of time

3. The ability ​​to detect a lie in 2 seconds

4. The ability to destroy lies on contact

5. The ability ​​to be self-evident

6. The ability to TELL it LIKE IT IS

SOUL Power Gives Soul Sista #1:

1. The ability to see the One Life Force in everyone

2 The ability to communicate telepathically with all forms of life

​3. The ability to animate matter

4. The ability to communicate with the heart of Creation

5. The ability to be one with all Creation

6. The ability to shape-shift into any form of Life

Photo Credit: MNN Studios

Mission: To spread love, defeat lies with truth, protect every soul manifesting as humans and all other forms of life

Arch Enemy: The Bully with a thousand faces who seeks to harm, intimidate, humiliate, or coerce someone it perceives as vulnerable, smaller, weaker or younger.

Legend: Orphaned during the last stand of the Black Panthers, Soul Sista #1 acquired her powers by putting on her mothers cuff bracelet

Soul Sista #1’s secret identity is Linda Tolbert, Mild Mannered Montessori kindergarten teacher, youth club manager and author.

<< Photo Credit: Melissa Davis

SOUL SISTA # 1 - Short Film

Starring Linda Tolbert and Jahari Robbins | Producer: Linda Tolbert | Director: Sheba Legend | Director of Photography: Sheba Legend | Original Score: Danny Briottet (RSW) vocals, Linda Tolbert | Production Design: Raymond S. James | Editors: Darren Richardson, Linda Tolbert | Costumes: Jean Laidman Designs | Story: Linda Tolbert | Newscaster: Rich Thompson | Stunt Coordinator: Darren Richardson | Stunt Choreographer: Raymond S. James | Stunt People: Elvis Lopez, Raymond James, Wise Wayne | Creative Director: Desmond Cadogan | Makeup: Connie Fleming | Accessories: Giselle Quietfire May | Photos: Melissa Davis, Giselle Quietfire May, Jean Laidman

Sadofsky & Trantina

Faith and Electric Dogs

Acrylic, Oil and Spray on Canvas | 200 x 190 cm | 2020

Melony Sugar

Acrylic, Oil and Spray on Canvas | 200 x 150 cm | 2020

Reality and Virtual Cows

Acrylic, Oil and Spray on Canvas | 200 x 190 cm | 2020

Louise Deninger

This work is part of a series of artworks produced during the quarantine caused by COVID 19, and investigates the charged magnitude of what the world is currently experiencing, ranging from pandemic outbreak, racial divide, migration, global environmental depreciation, to armed conflict.

The work explores the human understanding between the metaphysical, microcosm and the macrocosm, including choices that an individual makes in understanding, their relationship and connectedness to the universe, and all else around.

GENESIS | Collage and Acrylic on Wooden Board | 54 x 91cm | 2020

It also seeks to evoke thoughts with deep emotional curiosity of choices that we humans make, in terms of devastation or transfiguration.

TRANSFORMATION | Collage and Acrylic on Canvas | 60x80cm | 2020
GIMO - Fear of the Unknowable | Collage and Acrylic on Canvas 60x120cm | 2020

This work of art is a description of a nightmare that I had at the onset of lockdown. As I got to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia en route to Vienna from Uganda, I couldn’t help but notice a large number of people wearing facemasks, which bemused me since they all looked funny. My flight had been redirected to Frankfurt and later to Vienna.

Whilst in Germany I could sense some tension and there were hardly any passengers on the flight. I was gripped by a sudden feeling of anxiety when my husband picked me up at the airport and tried to explain what was going on, and that the whole of Europe was going to go on a lockdown.

As I changed my sim card messages and you tube videos started pouring in, through WhatsApp groups that I belonged to and had switched off for 4 weeks, with News and rumors of a possible pandemic that would lead to a quarantine, with different versions, of the cause most from fake news channels.

As I went to bed that night gripped by fear, anxiety and uncertainty, I woke up next morning with a cold sweat after dreaming of a situation whereby a protagonist had ordered for a vaccine that went wrong and people were dying in groves.

This work, titled GIMO - a Luo word that is used to describe an outbreak, of an unknown disease - was created during self-imposed quarantine.

Biggy sits in his big glass office in the Guluzone jungle gazing at the vast lake through the window and green forest. He reaches out and dials his assistant. Melody picks up after one ring.

"Inform all twelve council members that we shall be having an emergency meeting next week Friday here at the headquarters. Dr.Wu has just come up with a potent that is going to change the Universe as a whole. All discussions about decreasing the population and longevity is now going to come into fruition."

He hangs up the phone and calls Dr.Wu who picks up and with a shaky voice says,

"Sir, I have some bad news for you! As I was preparing to put the serum into the safe, I went out for a brief call and forgot to lock the door to the lab, my assistant accidentally opened the jar. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how much of the molecules escaped into the atmosphere, we are now closing the unit and asking our researchers to go home until we can verify how much of the substance has leaked into the atmosphere."

Biggy stands up and puffs,

"What do you mean there has been an accident? I am about to convene a meeting of the most powerful men on the planet to give them the good news, and now this!"

He slams the phone down and calls his assistant to cancel the meeting, wondering what to do next.

Within seconds, his phone rings and a voice on the other side and asks him to turn on the news. The research center is on fire; Dr Wu is seen running out with a briefcase.

Breaking News strikes in: There has been an atomic leak into the atmosphere and everyone is advised to stay in their homes. Experts warn that this leak can wipe out the whole of humanity so no one is allowed to

leave their home until we find a solution. You are advised to wear masks and no contact among humans is allowed outside your houses.

He switches to another channel and there are medical workers dressed in what looked like space suits piling dead bodies onto trucks, people are dying in grooves on the streets, he switches off the TV and calls Dr,Wu.

There was no answer.

Jana Sarova

The painting is about a gang of girls, who are stronger by being together. They adapt to the situation and use face masks as fashion. They refuse to give up because of Corona and they still care about their style. A bat is living in the house where they also live and work, but they found a good relationship with the world outside. They don't lose hope! This painting is dedicated to those who do not give up hope and find a way to adapt and make a negative into a positive.

Three Witches Gang | 70x100 cm | Aquarelle & Ink on Paper | 2020
Oasis- The Golden Spring | 65x85 cm, Mixed Media on Paper | 2020 / Snakes in Paradise | 70x100 cm, Aquarelle, Ink & Pencil on Paper, 2019 / The Heart of Ganga | 70x102 cm | Mixed Media on Paper | 2019 / The Sicilian Bride | 70x50 cm | Aquarelle & Ink on Paper | 2020


Toxic Paradise series

Various Tubes / Bridge Over Troubled Waters / Deforestation


If our lives are composed of multi-sensory experiences where neither sense is separate, then why are artists not aspiring to recreate and reference that reality? Why not capture life in art and art in life?? Why not reinforce text with images? Why not combine image, text and sound? Why not combine sound, image, smell and text?

If you experience a car crash, isn’t it true that the sounds, visuals and smells of the crash are inseparable from the overall experience of the crash?

If that is our reality, that all the senses contribute to create an experience, that experiences are MULTI- sensory, then why don’t artists develop the methodologies to fuse all our senses when creating?

Until this century, a century of technological explosion, it has never before been possible to integrate our senses. We now have technology at our fingertips: motion detectors,video projectors, holograms, computer imaging systems and sound systems. Smart phones are recognized as creative tools.

The Futurists, Constructivists, Dadaists, Cubists, Fluxists aspired to project into the future. Technology was important. These artists aspired to bridge the divide between the disciplines.

The times in which we now live have enabled us to exponentially combine the senses and the arts as never before. It is our burden as well as our responsibility to invent the future. Be part of the movement!

Kill the Dandies!

As artists who work partly at home, we are used to feeling isolated and lonely. Still, it's frustrating when you can't see your friends because you can't. We were grateful for the opportunity to shoot the video at home with only the director (Šimon Šafránek), cameraman (Zbyněk Kunc) and our band. The band is like an extended family and if you can't play live from day to day, not even in the rehearsal room, you miss it.

We have been preparing this video for almost the entire quarantine period. It was filmed in Prague in our living room. The two of us (La Petite Sonja and Hank J. Manchini) made masks, an altar from branches and, in fact, all the props. Hank brought a huge number of twisted willow branches from our garden and took them up the stairs to the 4th floor. But we didn't know until the last minute if we could shoot. We all have small children, we don't just decide for ourselves. It was filmed until the end of the quarantine and we were all happy to meet like this.

This video is like an end of quarantine party. Although the text is about an intense feeling of loneliness.


lyrics by La Petite Sonja

Oh my Love

You don't know

I look with your eyes

I listen with your ears

I taste with your mouth

You don't know

your dreams

wake me up at night

I'm scared of them

and I don't know why

Oh my Love

I feel

all your pain,

it hurts, you know

I'm a part of your brain

Why don't you let me

why don't you let me

why don't you let me feel any of your joys?

Oh my Love

your thoughts

come to me as mine

And then I don't know

how to handle your crime

Oh my Dear

our life

would be so peaceful & calm

I'd be so happy

maybe I would even dance

Why don't you let me

why don't you let me

why don't you let me feel any of your joys?

I May Even Dance

Artwork and Set Design: La Petite Sonja & Hank J. Manchini

Idea: La Petite Sonja, Hank J. Manchini & Šimon Šafránek

Director & Editor: Šimon Šafránek

Photography: Zbyněk Kunc

Music: Kill The Dandies! / Lyrics: La Petite Sonja

Scott Batty

PRESSURE COOKER | Acrylic, Ink, Collage on Magazine Paper | 19.5 cm x 18.5 cm | 2020

DREAM WEAVER (For 'Description of a struggle')

The hiss and spit, the hit and miss,

deciphering the struggle,

the tug of war,

between my ears,

Sharing infected air and an anxious beer,

because fun now makes me nervous,

The new normal replaces the last new normal,

which may or may not become a newer strain of normal,

which is, in itself, abnormal,

Nobody knows, nobody will ever know

if nature coughs, will she blow our faces off,

into kingdom come, like a bullet fired at the sun?

THE BIRDS ARE BARKING | Mixed Media on Vintage Paper (1921) | 14 cm x 21 cm | 2020

Controlling the uncontrollable,

under lock and key; too long or not long enough,

for him and her and you and me,

him and her, you and me?

We're busy ironing out the creases in our new straightjackets,

counting up to zero, making imaginary enemies

and influencing no one,

Planting phantom limbs so we can grow an organic army

who'll reverse their roles, and hang us by our own recycled nooses,

because overtime pays double at the weekend,

Can't smile, won't smile, in that corner, of that field,

the domain of the ego testicle, and queen bee who eats her babies,

Silence is the future is silent,

for him and her, and you and me,

him and her, you and me

NO WORDS | Collage, Ink, Acrylic, on Vintage Paper (1921) | 2020


This period of isolation almost didn't affect me.

I worked as usual and felt like an observer.

Information "noise" doesn't always help evaluate the situation correctly, or define the border between real life and false information, between real danger and exaggerated panic - like a bloated ball...

Story 19

Acrylic, Oil & Ink on Canvas | 200 x 150
Escape 1 - Details
The diptych "Escape1" was made before COVID-19 but now looks different to me, and has acquired new possibilities of interpretation...

The Isolation Collection

Description of a Struggle

Room One

“We build useless war machines, towers, walls, curtains of silk, and we could marvel at all this a great deal if we had the time. We tremble in the balance, we don’t fall, we flutter, even though we may be uglier than bats. And on a beautiful day hardly anyone can prevent us from saying: ‘Oh God, today is a beautiful day,’ for we are already established on this earth and live by virtue of an agreement.” _ Description of a Struggle - Franz Kafka

If you want to know more about the project, support us and/or the artists, or if you are interested in buying a piece you've just seen, please contact us at isolationcollection[at]gmail[dot]com

The Isolation Collection is curated by Robert Carrithers, Hagai Segev, Jo Blin and Michael J. Rowland


© The Isolation Collection, 2020

© all rights reserved to the individual artists


The Isolation Collection