May 4, 2020

Much of what keeps me sane these days is art. Thanks to books, films, series, playlists, as well as the exhibits and museums that have been made available online, each day of quarantine isn’t as tormentingly identical to the other. 

Of course, getting to busy myself with these things during a pandemic is a privilege I acknowledge. Moreover, with creative industries and productions greatly being affected by the pandemic, now is the best time to actively support artists. 

Maybe you can commission one of your artist friends to do a piece for you, but if you are at a loss, there’s this online exhibition called “Paper Panic Project.” 

Unlike most of the online exhibitions we’ve been seeing (which were originally intended for in-person viewing), this exhibition was specifically made to be on Instagram and as an open platform for anyone looking to express something about the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The account’s first post was a photograph of a tissue roll which was spray painted with a pink Louis Vuitton pattern by street art collective KoloWn last Mar. 11—just days before the Luzon quarantine was implemented.

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Work by @kolown #kolown ©️ 2020 by the artist

A post shared by Paper Panic (@paper_panic_project) on

Ever since I started following the account last March, the exhibition’s eerie, satirical, politically-charged and even meme-worthy pieces became part of the few posts which I actually pay attention to in my timeline. This was admittedly because I also found myself looking forward to the account’s takes on the current developments of the crisis.

Although the exhibition features a variety of works ranging from paper-mâché to animated illustrations and multimedia pieces, I honestly thought it was genius to have toilet paper as the exhibition’s main medium. Not only has this utilitarian material become a symbol of the pandemic thanks to panic buyers, it also highlights the artists’ ability to improvise and take the word “scrappy” to a whole new level especially in a time like this.  

Now with over 300 artworks from both local and foreign artists, the ongoing exhibition has become an amusing and compelling creative archive of the past few months. Here are some of my favorite works on “Paper Panic Project” which I will leave for you to interpret: 

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By @jose.tanierla #jotanierla ©️ 2020 by the artist

A post shared by Paper Panic (@paper_panic_project) on

Yes, those are tissue paper painted a particular shade of green to look like lettuce leaves


The piece above is an entry from Taku Hisamura–an artist and sculptor based in Tokyo


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By @jo.rdanmaykel #oustdutertenow #jotanierla

A post shared by Paper Panic (@paper_panic_project) on

These are only a few of the works that stood out for me for reasons including their evocative quality and the showcase of talent despite a very unusual and even fragile medium (have you seen that accurate and nuanced painting of President Duterte on a piece of tissue? How about that video projection of the infamous gin bilog?). 

Need I say more with this one?

The exhibition is still ongoing, and will go on as long as the pandemic. If you have anything to put out, you can send your work along with your details directly to the account. Through this project, the curator (who strictly wants to remain anonymous) wants to build unity between artists and viewers amid this pandemic. 

In my case, the project further stands as a testament to my belief that art is a constant outlet for expression as well as a profound source of connection—something that shouldn’t be taken for granted especially during these times. 



Header photo is a collage of Jota Nierla and Gino Maglinao’s artworks in the exhibit by Joey Liza

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TAGS: art exhibit covid-19 Duterte gino maglinao jota nierla louis vuitton militarization online exhibit pandemic Paper paper art paper panic project taku hisamura tissue art toilet paper