Staff creativity unleashed amid COVD19

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By Monique Awad
Skateistan_Mazar
UNICEF-Afghanistan/2020/Tuitt
18 June 2020

Kabul, Afghanistan, 5 June 2020 – UNICEF staff in Afghanistan are bearing the brunt of this global crisis.  The daily violence due to political instability is further exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, making life more challenging.  To ensure their well-being, and mental health to be able to continue to deliver for children in need, staff are reverting to creative ways of coping, including drawing.

Anthony Tuitt, Field Security Advisor at UNICEF Afghanistan often sketches images of the sights he see’s during his field visits to various locations of Afghanistan.  Anthony sketches images of the country, portraying daily lives. 

Anthony began sketching three years ago whilst with UNICEF Somalia.

“I found it helpful to have an interest outside of work whilst living in the enclosed confines of a hardship duty station,” says Anthony.

At the time, Anthony found himself all consumed with work, often working late into the night and finding it hard to switch off. He had no idea he had any artistic ability, and to this day he insists that he doesn’t. But soon after starting Anthony found that it was helpful and pleasing to record incidents and events of the day.

“It wasn’t so much quality of the art that was the purpose,” says Anthony.  “Rather that my mind was occupied in an activity outside of the immediate high threat environment, which helps me overcome  the feelings of social isolation,” he adds.

Over the past couple of years Anthony has filled six sketch books with around 300 drawings of his time with UNICEF in the field.

Anthony highly recommends that other UNICEF staff who find themselves in similar situations, perhaps look for a hobby or interest that is easily portable and doesn’t take up too much brain power.

“It doesn’t matter what the hobby is or to what standard, it is more the process of ‘stealing time for yourself,’ says Anthony.

Please join me to see a selection of  Anthony’s sketches reflecting children’s creativity,  resilience, hopes and aspirations. 

Tola
UNICEF-Afghanistan/2020/Tuitt

While sitting by Kokcha river in Fayzabad, a north eastern city of Afghanistan, Anthony saw an adolescent boy sitting in a quiet area playing the flute.  he sound of music forced Anthony to stop and take notice, and was later recalled when he was sketching. Fayzabad, Afghanistan.

Cricketer
UNICEF-Afghanistan/2020/Tuitt

By looking at an image of an adolescent boy with disability playing cricket, Anthony was inspired by his resilience and determination.  Kabul, Afghanistan.

clinging to his phone
UNICEF-Afghanistan/2020/Tuitt

In Kandahar, a southern province of Afghanistan, known for being conservative, a man is clinging to his phone.  This sketch reflects the impact of globalization even on the most conservative societies.   Kandahar, Afghanistan

A young balloon seller
UNICEF-Afghanistan/2020/Tuitt

A young balloon seller riding a bike, selling balloons in city centre Kabul, capital of Afghanistan.  The balloons read out ‘I love you’ in English. Kabul, Afghanistan.

Flying kites
UNICEF-Afghanistan/2020/Tuitt

Flying kites is another sports that children enjoy in Afghanistan.  This kite, made to look like a bird, got stuck in a pine tree inside the UNICEF Compound.  Kabul, Afghanistan

A group of boys wearing traditional clothes are playing soccer.
UNICEF-Afghanistan/2020/Tuitt

A group of adolescent boys wearing traditional clothes are playing soccer outside of the UN compound in Kandahar, a province in southern Afghanistan. A young girl is watching the boys play. Cricket is the most popular sports, followed by soccer. Kandahar, Afghanistan.

A group of people walking on a main road
UNICEF-Afghanistan/2020/Tuitt

A group of people walking on a main road – known as Jalalabad Road in the capital city of Kabul.  All are dressed in traditional clothes.  Given the cold weather, the man in the front is wearing a hat, known as Pakol, a shawl traditionally worn by men, known as Patu, and is holding a string of beads, known as Tisbih.  Kabul, Afghanistan

Two boys selling figs
UNICEF-Afghanistan/2020/Tuitt

Two boys selling figs. They are sitting under the shades of an eucalyptus tree in Kandahar, a province southern Afghanistan.  Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Two boys walking down the street in Jalalabad
UNICEF-Afghanistan/2020/Tuitt

Two boys walking down the street in Jalalabad, an eastern city, capital of Nangarhar province.  Since it was a rainy day, the older brother is holding an umbrella to protect them from being wet.  Jalalabad, Afghanistan