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yahoo creators contest
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How Gen Z is using art and creativity to improve their mental health

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Written by: Kaleigh Fasanella

To say that 2020 has been a tough year would be a grand understatement. In the last eight months alone, many have witnessed more death, pain and political pandemonium than ever before. The fear, isolation and demise caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the horrific onslaught of police brutality and racism that’s still so rife in the U.S. today, has rocked people to their core. And consequently, there’s been a significant rise in anxiety and depression — specifically in the younger generations.

Elizabeth Idowu, 24, She/Her

"The Yahoo Creator Contest allowed me to jump into my creative bag and also heal. This year has been full of so much loss and sadness that I wanted to capture that through my artistic lens. I’ve been painting for an entire year now and I’ve grown and developed so much. Portraits are my favorite thing to paint on canvas and Pop Smoke was an artist I had grown to love because his craft was unique, so I created this piece in tribute to his contribution to music".

pop smoke painting

For me, art is my escape — just like in music, sports or gaming, once you’re in “flow” or “the zone,” it’s hard to notice anything outside of what you’re concentrating on. When I’m feeling down or stressed, music is also another outlet. The two go hand in hand; painting and listening to music is a healing process, and I find a sense of satisfaction when an art project is finished. 

Also, I find that through art I can be an activist. I can share my political views and spread awareness about global issues because art has little to no bounds, and my imagination never stops. So, in turn, I am able to channel my opinions and thoughts through art. For instance, I collaborated with a producer and made a music video about the BLM movement, and created an illustration that highlights how the wealth of Wall Street was built on the backs of slaves.