The global pandemic has forced our interconnected world to keep a serious distance. Unfortunately, beside the observance of the reasonable physical distancing rules and the border closures required by the situation, xenophobia has also begun to intensify. This has been reinforced to a large extent by political communication in Hungary, especially in the initial period of the epidemic. Seclusion on the personal level, which in extreme cases turns into xenophobia, permeates global actions, too. The countries of the world are trying to cope with the virus by following individual strategies within their own borders, instead of striving for a common solution. However, the epidemic doesn't know borders and undermines individual action in absence of a collective action plan. 
I used surgical masks in my work, because during the pandemic, this protective equipment has become a symbol of the fight against the virus. These objects perfectly express the paradox of both subjective defense and broader social, national, or global defense. I embroidered Hungarian folk motifs on these vulnerable materials not only because I wanted to form a connection between the piece and overused national phrases, but also in order to try to reflect on the similarly vulnerable Hungarian health care system, which is suffering from a lack of equipment.

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Judit Lilla Molnár

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National Protective Equipment

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