July 7th, 2020

by Nina Turok Shapiro

Before coronavirus, I took touching for granted. Now it feels unnatural. Something to be hyper-aware of at all times. Touching is wrong. It’s dangerous. I have formed a new relationship with it, and now it's reserved solely for when it's entirely necessary, or for occasions that involve the people I am closest to. 


This is an experimental series of monoprints in which I explore this new relationship with touch and intimacy as a result of isolation. Monoprinting is a very tactile process and the subtlety of differing the pressure applied allows for fascinating results. I looked at fingerprint details and attempted to break the fingerprints down to basic abstract forms. Working in this abstract way leaves room for interpretation and I found it exciting finding images that were unintended in the forms I created.


Many people have been wearing gloves in an attempt to lessen their chances of catching the virus and passing it on. I represented this idea in my prints by pressing my fingers onto the matrix (the surface on which the ink is applied) while wearing neoprene-cleaning gloves. The resulting marks lack individuality, feeling more distant and synthetic than those of real fingerprints. I started thinking about ideas of mapping the body, making connections between fingerprints and contour lines on maps. I found that this allowed for me to further elaborate on ideas of touch and intimacy as well as one’s relationship with the body. 


Nina Turok Shapiro is a 20-year-old artist living in Cape Town, South Africa. She is a student at The Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. You can find her on Instagram @ninaturokshapiro or contact her at