An illustrator from New Zealand has proved how powerful art can be in times of disruption and grief, with her piece going viral after it was published in the wake of the horrific Christchurch shooting.
Wellington-based Ruby Jones decided to share a touching illustration on Friday, which showed two women – one of whom is wearing a headscarf – sharing a hug, with the caption underneath them reading, “This is your home and you should have been safe here”.
Since it was posted, the artwork has been ‘liked’ on Ruby’s Instagram over 37,000 times itself, shared by well-known media personalities, and has brought people together online.
“I have been pretty overwhelmed by the response to be honest,” Ruby tells Draw Your Box.
“But I think simple words and images are what people often connect with most during painful times like this. No one knows what to say.”
The artist, who is originally from Dunedin, NZ, but moved to the nation’s capital last year, says the intention behind her creative piece was to capture the shock and sorrow of the wider community.
“I think I was just trying to convey how the whole country was feeling,” she explains.
“During a time like this, people need comfort and warmth and togetherness and strength, and so that’s what I tried to put into the image. I wanted it to be a symbol of all of those things.”
“All the messages I have received have touched my heart, particularly those from the Muslim community,” says Ruby, but there’s one in particular that evoked a strong emotional response for her on a deeply personal level.
“One I read just before that brought me to tears was from a Muslim woman in Australia, who said her young son pointed at the image and said, ‘Oh this is mummy’. She was so thankful to be able to see herself represented, and said it reinforced to her, the idea that we are all one.”
On Saturday morning New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden confirmed that 49 people have died as the result of the terror attack in Christchurch on Friday, which involved shootings at Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Masjid Mosques where hundreds were inside praying.
A 28-year-old man was charged with one count of murder on Saturday morning after appearing in court.
View this post on Instagram
My heart is broken. My country is weeping and so am I. I hate knowing this can happen in my homeland. All my love goes out to Christchurch, the victims, the families, the Muslim community, and all who have chosen our beautiful islands as their home. This is not us. I love you New Zealand. Art by @rubyalicerose
View this post on Instagram
Sending all my light and love to all those affected by this monstrous act of white supremacy and terrorism. Now we will come together and fight against hate with love because being relentlessly loving and kind is the strongest thing you can be. Please take care of yourselves and check in with others. ❤️