What We Left Behind 


by Alise Leiboff

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, I have noticed a new species of litter on the streets of Baltimore. The fear-invoking and controversial face mask would quickly fade into the mundane, just another candy wrapper trapped in the storm drain, at once alien and an integral part of the urban ecosystem. My study was born from the desire to process the cognitive dissonance of this transition, paired with the instinct to document history. The pillowcase sketches of Albrecht Dürer served as inspiration for the simplistic depiction of fabric, inviting the viewer to scrutinize and seek humanity in the monochromatic line work. The collection provides a chronological record of masks I happened upon in everyday life, exhibiting not only enumeration but also their evolution over time. My work asks the viewer to introspect, whether it be on the number of lives lost to COVID-19, the environmental impact of the crisis, the social inequalities it unveiled, identity, loneliness, or any other thoughts and feelings these unprecedented times may have manifested. “What We Left Behind” has been included in Marymount University’s Horizons Exhibition and showcased at the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Visual Arts.

Alise Leiboff is a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she studied the Medical Humanities, French, and the visual arts. She is now based in New York City where she works as a Medical Scribe and is looking forward to continuing her studies in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. A vetted editor for Tendon, Leiboff seeks to tread the common ground between the health sciences, literature, and the visual arts.

Twitter: @AliseLeiboff