Art in a pandemic
Nowadays, the weather is excellent, so I often come to the yard to see the crystal clear blue sky. If I remember, around this time of last year, the sky was as clear and bright without any impurities as today. Simultaneously, the picture-like-sky seen by us, isolated as a pandemic, was another form of comfort. So I took a picture like this to keep the message of hope.
Now, people are getting vaccinated in earnest, and finally, cases are decreasing. The vaccination rate is 52.2% in our county, and the positive test rate is 1.4 %, and the vulnerability level is medium. So now, people are cautiously talking about hope for the future.
When I first heard the news that we had to shut down due to the Covid virus, I went to Costco to be sure to maintain at least a 30-day supply. But as you all know, the toilet paper was sold out, and there was no way to get eggs and bread. Later found out that it was really only trivial.
By the way, for a long time, I couldn't even take a step outside the house, so I was trapped inside the house and only listening to news about viruses, hospitals, coffins, and graveyards every day. Back then, my 3-year-old daughter made play-dohs and put them on her play pink table like below, and no one could touch them. It seemed like it was a kind of ritual to fight awful stress.
Eventually, it had become a daily routine to see the coffins or bodies on the news. But, the thing that hurt me the most was when I had heard a plan to use an ice rink in the neighborhood to store body. It was a horrible nightmare, although the idea later changed to use the farm's old freezer.
In Spring 2020, we felt unfamiliar when seeing and hearing the beautiful sky, fantastic weather, and pretty bird sounds. We became prisoners of fear for almost a month and did not even go to our backyard.
Then, by the time we accepted the sad routine as part of us, we could go outside. Worried that there would be a virus in the cool breeze, we came out cautiously, but my daughter ran to the bottom of the tree like a spring in a machine. She danced, watching the beautiful singing bird on the branch. Also, I have a similar experience when I took her for the first time to the school last September. Everyone was standing at the school's door to send the children to school, wearing masks and carefully holding them 6 feet. At that moment, everyone is tired of long isolation life, and no one dared to speak. Just then, a little boy looked up at the sky and shouted out. "Mom, look at that! It's a moon." Children are excited when they see the moon appear white in the morning. Only then that people began to relax and laugh.
From my perspective, the sound of children's songs and laughter in difficulty and hardships, like candlelight coming out of darkness, are messages of hope that we must keep. And it is art itself.
In the past, during the Spanish flu, our senior painters drew a picture with such a childlike mind fighting fear. In New York Times Style Magazine, I can discover in the meaningful related article, "What Can We Learn From the Art of Pandemics Past?"
" We will all have our own metaphors and images to make meaning of this time: art or reportage or our own witnessing, the visuals that endure, reflecting us back to ourselves." (By Megan O’Grady).
Slowly running in a dark tunnel towards the light, we all became witnesses and companions to share the testimony out of grid life.
"The 2020 pandemic will change the way we see art forever, too, and artists and writers have already begun doing the work of illuminating new shifts and losses, documenting the small kindnesses and cruelties, the large failures of leadership, technology and society." (cited part of the reference article content)
Above all else, I will try to leave something like a picture of last year's blue sky, like the play diagram my child has accumulated on her desk. It is a privilege of art to be able to look back on what remains so that even if it remains like any interesting event.
Myungja Anna Koh