On 23rd March 2020, the government instructed the nation to go into lockdown to limit the spread of the Corona Virus pandemic which was reportedly taking lives at an alarming rate. We were told to Stay at Home, only go out for essential shopping, infrequently or for exercise only once a day, and to work at home if at all possible. Social distancing meant we had to stay 2 metres away from anyone else and anyone who violated this was at risk of being fined by the police. No travel was allowed other than for the essentials above. Shops, workplaces and all going concerns were closed down and it became almost impossible to enter or leave the UK. It was unclear whether there was enough food to feed everyone and it was almost impossible to book home food delivery as this hand been booked up for weeks ahead, and priority was rightly reserved for front line NHS workers and those deemed to be at high medical risk of catching the virus.
Hurtling through space, severed from the life space as I knew it. Snatched from the containment of safe known care with no reference points to cling to. Catapulted into a liminal space between life and death, oceans of cosmos enveloping me, streaming colour illuminating me. My familiar puzzle is shattered and the pieces do not fit together as before. I saturate myself and my paper in water and flowing colour, asking to be shown new meaning, new connection and how to find my way home. Torn from my mooring point, I tear the paper, I forget to breathe….
2. Breathe, You Are Still Alive
Relaxing into a new azure containment, I am reminded to bring my awareness back to my body. Comforted and remembering to breathe, I recognise I am STILL alive, I am STILL breathing. I am reminded that I am made of the same stuff as the stars, the cosmos, the planets, I have not been separated from anything because I am of it. I remember and find a new rhythm of breathing….
(Text on image adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh (2017), The Art of Living. "Breathe You are Still Alive" "Immortality of clues, rain, stars and the cosmos" "I am made of stars and galaxies")
3. Past, Present, Future
Engulfed in flow, I wash colours through the paper as they wash through me. Am I birthing, being or dying? Unclear, I allow the flow, front is back, back is front, I undulate in the waves of time, part of an evolutionary process I don’t understand. I want to reach out but don’t know how… Feeling the illness of our planet, calling us to care…
(Includes Photos of myself as baby, as child with my brother, as adult)
4. Collaging Context
Connecting to new circuits, new people online, I am on new ground, alert, deeply thankful, finding hilarious new viewpoints. I tear, I cut, I stick and collage new experiences and new perspectives, fitting new pieces together into a new puzzle. Suddenly the outside world becomes the inside, the inside the outside, new fascinations and interests blossom, new voice, new fitter body, new food, inside and out….
(Text on image from newspaper cuttings, internet, social media images, includes photos of myself and my husband and others)
Volcanic eruption, release, buoyancy, new direction, I bounce irrepressible in new directions. Uneasy in this new world I accept this transition and continue to search for new settling points …...
MATERIALS: Acrylic, watercolour, ink, bleach, photographs, collage 70 x 50 cm