In our Long Covid support community, we have found art to be a powerful form of therapy in the process of healing and recovery. Creating artwork of any kind can be cathartic, allowing you to express your emotions, experiences and challenges in a tangible way. It can also be profoundly transformative, bringing deep insight, hope, patience and peace.
Our website features artworks by people living with Long Covid in Aotearoa | New Zealand. Poignant illustrations by Tracey Thorp capture the essence of each Long Covid symptom, while other key pages are interspersed with thoughtful photographs by Jenene Crossan.
Tracey Thorp: Depicting the Long Covid journey
Tracey’s illustrations of Long Covid symptoms portray the physical and emotional challenges faced by people with Long Covid. Drawing on her personal experience, each illustration is a vivid depiction of what it feels like to be struggling with the particular symptom.
The images of brain fog and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) above are particularly meaningful for Tracey as they are symptoms that have affected her profoundly.
Tracey’s hope is that people with Long Covid can instantly recognise their experience in the images and can use the drawings to explain what the symptoms feel like. When Long Covid is limiting your capacity to take in or communicate information, you can use the drawings to show your doctor how you feel and how the symptoms are affecting you, helping you communicate and be understood.
As well as being our website illustrator, Tracey is also an experienced portrait artist and stylist. You can view more from Tracey on Instagram.
Jenene Crossan: Photographing Long Covid recovery
Forming a beautiful and inspirational feature of the website, Jenene’s photographs have emerged from the many hours she has spent observing and absorbing the calming, grounding presence of the natural environment that she lives in. In photography, Jenene has discovered the mindful and meditative practice of being still and focusing on the present moment.
Jenene sees photography as a valuable form of therapy that is practical and insightful, offering lessons in expression and emotion as well as patience and surrender. It is through photography that Jenene found her tūrangawaewae | place in the world. A turning point in her wellness journey came through the understanding of herself that photography instilled in her: “The seas are wild all around me, but I am the beach, not the waves. Standing peaceful in chaos. Holding the courage to keep pursuing my true self.”
Jenene hopes that her photographs will resonate with others and help them find hope, inspiration and healing in their own Long Covid journey. A co-founder of Long Covid Support Aotearoa, you can hear more from Jenene on Twitter (where she often posts her photos).
And how about you, dear reader? Have you had the opportunity to explore the healing power of art in your health journey? We would love to see artworks from other people with Long Covid in Aotearoa | New Zealand who have discovered art as a way to express their experience. Please get in touch if you have artwork that you would like to share with us.
We have come to understand art and creativity as powerful, accessible tools for people with Long Covid. Through this practice, day by day and week by week, we can find comfort, hope and empowerment, and forge a path toward healing and peace.