Filipino cartoonist marks International Day of Families with depictions of reunions

Barbie Salvador-Muhlach

Posted at May 15 2021 07:10 PM | Updated as of May 15 2021 08:12 PM

Courtesy of Sandi Staley

It’s a common theme around the world. Family members who live in different households are forced to stay apart due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a way, it’s a language of love of its own, to willingly distance one’s self from loved ones in the name of safety. But knowing it is for a good cause does not necessarily make it easy.

Egypt-based Filipino Artist Sandi Staley knows this predicament all too well. While she and her own little family are tucked away safely in Cairo, she yearns to touch base with other relatives who are located in the Philippines and other parts of the world.

Courtesy of Sandi Staley

“Normally we would travel throughout summer to see both sides of the family but we just don’t have that opportunity yet. It makes me a bit sad, like our youngest, Ellie, who was born at the start of the pandemic, she has literally not met anyone outside our immediate family.” 

To cope, Sandi took to art and sketched up images of family reunions. “The process was also very therapeutic (for me). It is a good way to sort of create a memory that we yearn for and look forward to.”

“Of course, family portraits can be recreated now through Photoshop,” Sandi admits. But the 37-year-old cartoonist explains that doing it by hand gives it a special touch, allowing her also the freedom to insert cute elements and details.

Courtesy of Sandi Staley

She adds, the art pieces can also transcend not just borders but time too, like for family members who had already passed on. It’s a reminder that “our loved ones, although not physically present, are always there with us.”

As COVID-19 cases continue to climb worldwide, the pandemic highlights the crucial role of each family as the basic unit of society in fighting the current conditions and mitigating the risks.

Staying put and keeping one another safe seems to still be the prevailing sentiment. But Sandi hopes her art could help touch other people’s lives, and make them feel like “we are kind of together, even though we are apart.”