In this historic time, the present outbreak of COVID-19 has created mass devastation across the globe. Over the past few months, the spread of the virus has caused industries and educational systems of the world that have been the very fabric of progressive societies to close down, leaving our sea of humanity questioning the very outcome of our present and future existence. In the course of a few months, millions of citizens have lost their jobs, children in many ways have lost the opportunities of education, and unstable governments have brought a false sense of security and fear to global communities.
My series, COVID-19: A Time of Uncertainty, directs images of abstract and realistic form, showing emotions and actions of resilience, hope, fear, and turmoil. I hope that my viewers will be able to see the conflicting pros and cons presented in my work, giving a face and name to COVID-19 in all its complications and complexities, giving people thought-provoking questions to the past, present and future status of our forever-changed world.
Susan L. Smith
Using what is at hand has become my practice while in quarantine. Dyes, created from food waste from the meals cooked at home, on reclaimed linen, hemp and cotton, and prints made with woodblocks and handmade ink from walnuts in my yard, become a record of this time. As the number of lives lost escalated, prayer flags for the 100,000 became part of daily production, as well as masks, which for me is as much a precautionary measure we do for all of us, as it is an act of resistance.
I have been social distancing at home for weeks. During this time I have felt, at times, cut off from the world. There is a wall that is keeping me from the life I knew before. Windows have become my access to the greater world outside these walls.
The photos of the light coming through the curtains represent the promise of a time yet to come. The images behind the curtains are distorted, as will be the world once we emerge from this time of the pandemic. The sun will shine again, but everything will have changed.
Responses lurking just beneath the surface of normalcy….
Image at top: Norajean Ferris, COVID-19: Set the Stage for Emotional Expression…, pastel, maker and pencil on paper, 18 x 24 in., 2020.