The New Youth Council Online Showcase - Ashwini Selvakumaran and Aishwarya Patel

Ashwini Selvakumaran and Aishwarya Patel

COVID-19 Perspectives (2020)

Ashwini Selvakumaran and Aishwarya Patel

Artist Statement

For this project, we aimed to unearth the difficulties faced by one cross-section of the community marginalized within this pandemic. Our goal was to examine how COVID-19 had changed the lifestyle of the global student community in their learning, working and day-to-day activities. We incorporated nineteen unique outlooks into the short story e-book, COVID-19 Perspectives, with accompanying illustrations, to weave together and illuminate the hidden and vivid impacts of this pandemic on the wider student community.

Ashwini Selvakumaran is a co-author of COVID-19 Perspectives. She is a third-year student at the University of Toronto pursuing a major in Peace, Conflict and Justice with a double minor in Diaspora and Transnational Studies, and English. Her role primarily entailed writing and editing each of the nineteen short stories found throughout the book. Ashwini's lived experiences moving to diverse countries such as Kazakhstan and Yemen honed her awareness of social inequalities such as gender and structural inequality, the climate crisis, and the need to advocate for the BIPOC community. As a result, Ashwini utilized storytelling as a platform to elevate the importance of global solidarity. As an avid storyteller and writer, Ashwini aims to utilize her craft to mobilize youth into social justice issues. She strives to motivate youth across the world to share their voice through writing, in order to contribute directly to global action.

Aishwarya Patel is the co-author of COVID-19 Perspectives. She is a third-year student at the University of Toronto pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Comprehensive Studies as a classical pianist, a minor in Political Science, and two certificates in Music Technology and Health Applications in Music. Her role primarily consisted of illustration and layout design. She has experienced, firsthand, many injustices, having lived in Zimbabwe, Canada, and the US, such as poverty, racism, and unequal access to healthcare and education. These have inspired her to be a lifelong advocate for these issues as a servant of justice, equity, diversity, and sustainability. She hopes to add a new dimension to her art that has profound meaning and impact--one which can contribute, in a positive way, to the global community and touch the lives of many. She also hopes to inspire and encourage youth and others, alongside herself, to learn and be active within all their communities through their crafts.


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