Art for Mental Health: Social Distancing and ‘Skin Hunger’

By Shoili Kanungo

Skin Hunger by Shoili Kanungo, Supported by The Health Collective
flood of lines: Image by Shoili Kanungo
geometric grass: Image by Shoili Kanungo
embryonic being: Image by Shoili Kanungo
is this my energy: Image by Shoili Kanungo
purity of this muck: Image by Shoili Kanungo

Living alone, in the middle of Lockdown Summer 2020, after 100 days of no touch contact, I felt the need to order some very large paper online, and draw what I was subconsciously experiencing all over it, the words tumbled out later. Why such large paper? Perhaps because the act of drawing on it felt more tactile. I was sitting on the page, inside my drawing, using thick inky strokes, my arms and legs grazing the paper as I drew. Maybe this was my way to compensate for the lack of touch contact that I was experiencing in my life at that point.

Skin Hunger is a real thing. I only got a small taste of it last year, I was lucky otherwise, I had friends who met me for socially distant walks and looked out for me. And yet, not being able to touch anybody for so long made me understand how unbearably painful it was. Prisoners kept in solitary confinement experience it regularly.

Shoili Kanungo
  • Flood of Lines
  • Skin Hunger 2 Geometric Grass
  • Skin Hunger 3
  • Skin hunger 3
  • skin hunger 5

About the Artist: Shoili Kanungo is an artist and designer based in New Delhi. You can find her work at and follow her on Insta @shoili and Twitter @/Shoili_Kanungo


(Editor’s Note: Read more about Touch Starvation or Skin Hunger; Do share your stories and comments with us; Email: team[at]healthcollective[dot]in)