#MyPandemicStory: youth create portraits of a pandemic at ROM

A year into the pandemic, ROM asked Ontario youth to process their pandemic experiences by creating a work of art in any medium. 60 were put on display.

Interior Exhibition Space for #MyPandemicStory (2021) by Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)Royal Ontario Museum


Created entirely of crowd-sourced artworks from youth aged 4-18, this exhibition is a stirring portrait of the complex journeys of young people during the pandemic. To learn more, click here.

To browse all of the creative and compelling artworks, check out the digital gallery.

The Face of Resilience (2021) by ValarieRoyal Ontario Museum

The Face of Resilience

I used different colours and shapes to represent different people from all over the world, united in our fight against COVID-19. The bright colours represent strength, courage, determination, and resilience. 

Essential Barbie™ (2021) by KeliaRoyal Ontario Museum

Essential Barbie™

This is a Barbie™ that I designed a PPE outfit for using a blue rubber glove. I was inspired by my Mom who is a Registered Nurse. 

Smiling Under My Mask (2021) by EmmettRoyal Ontario Museum

Smiling Under My Mask

Since masks cover my mouth, you can’t see it. I want people to know I’m always smiling under my mask! 

Air Hugs (2021) by EthanRoyal Ontario Museum

Air Hugs

This is a sculpture of my Papa and me. We had to air hug to keep each other safe. I like real hugs better. 

Room to Breathe (2021) by AmeliaRoyal Ontario Museum

Room to Breathe

During the pandemic, the park was my only outlet to feel like myself. It gave to me room to breathe. 

Disconnected (2021)Royal Ontario Museum


As a student, I have certainly felt some sort of emptiness having a lack of seeing my friends. You almost feel disconnected at some points. 

Cameras Off (2021) by CadenRoyal Ontario Museum

Cameras Off

No one turns their camera on, so this is basically what it's been like during class time. It has been hard not seeing people's faces. 

Eyedentity (2021) by SabrinaRoyal Ontario Museum


Eyes are so important during the pandemic, when masks cover our faces. Despite our identities and appearances, one look into our eyes reveals that we are all human.

“2020 Be Like…” (2021) by TateRoyal Ontario Museum

“2020 Be Like…”

My pandemic story represents what was unleashed on the world in 2020. These are the memories that I will have from this time in my life. 

Untitled (2021) by KaelinRoyal Ontario Museum


During the pandemic I started questioning my gender and sexuality. I’ve found comfort in the LGBTQ+ community, and I’m happy to finally say that I am nonbinary. 

Trapped at home (2021) by HazelRoyal Ontario Museum

Trapped at home

This piece represents being trapped at home, where my house is a cage. During the pandemic I've gotten into wire bending as a coping mechanism for my stress.

Hate is a Virus (2021) by KatharineRoyal Ontario Museum

Hate is a Virus

The constant news about xenophobic attacks negatively affected my mental health. I created this piece to show that positivity always overcomes ignorance.  

Space Cookie (2021) by AlexandriaRoyal Ontario Museum

Space Cookie

I wish we could escape to space and have the cookies we've always wanted, especially during the pandemic. As a low-verbal autistic, I communicate feelings through texture and colour. Painting is my space cookie at this time.

Essential Still Life (2021) by MarthaRoyal Ontario Museum

Essential Still Life

I captured the essence of Baroque still life paintings with modern ‘essential’ items. I want them to feel present. Important. They were so valuable during this pandemic. 

Eight (2021) by DaelynRoyal Ontario Museum


In 2020, I began working at a long-term care home for adults with disabilities. This poem honours the residents who passed away during the pandemic. 

Demons (2021) by EmiliyaRoyal Ontario Museum


I used this self-portrait to express and work through some of my emotions during the pandemic. It represents the ongoing fight with my demons.  

colourful mess (2021) by AileenRoyal Ontario Museum

colourful mess

The hands represent how the media is killing us, and the plastic is being stuck in a bubble. The colours represent how we are losing our beauty. 

COVID-19 and Medicine (a short story) (2021) by NikitaRoyal Ontario Museum

COVID-19 and Medicine (a short story)

Due to COVID-19, I miss my school and friends. I wish to see the world back to normal. In this story, medicine is attacking COVID-19.

Will They Tell My Story? (2021) by SarjanaRoyal Ontario Museum

Will They Tell My Story?

I hope to show the struggles children faced during lockdown and provide a sense of hope for a brighter future. Are we making history? Will our stories be told? 

Hell on Earth (2021) by IbrahimRoyal Ontario Museum

Hell on Earth

Throughout the pandemic, racism has become an even bigger problem. My art shows the psychological and emotional effects of hate. The leaves represent hope.

Credits: Story

Created entirely of crowd-sourced artworks from youth aged 4-18, this exhibition is a stirring portrait of the complex journeys of young people during the pandemic. To learn more, click here.

To browse all of the creative and compelling artworks, check out the digital gallery.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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