“Distance”

Distance March 2020 28×22″ Mixed media on paper

Less than a week ago coronavirus fears quickly escalated and the situation became suddenly dire. My teenage daughter and her mother were on their first major trip together, to Thailand. Fears about cancelled flights home and closed borders loomed and then were quickly realized.

It was a tense few days, with feelings of fear and helplessness that I’m frankly not accustomed to in recent times. Friends and family banded together; we all did what we could from where we were.

Today my daughter and her mother arrived home safely. I feel a deep relief even though uncertainty and a sense of impending danger continue to grow in the shadow of the global pandemic.

In this uncertainty there is a call for distancing ourselves from others in body. This distance is painful and confusing for many, but also necessary.

In a large country like Canada, distance is a familiar idea in some ways, and yet within this context it feels eerie and foreign, foreboding.

While my daughter and her mother faced an uncertain trip home to Canada, I felt the distance between us, not just in terms of miles (I never really did adjust to metric), but in terms of uncertainty and fear; the distance in the gap between what I could count on just a few days ago and what I could count on now. Everything seemed to hang in the balance of that gap.

And so when I wasn’t phoning the airline or the embassy, or strategizing with my amazing supportive partner Sue, I was working at my art. The piece I am sharing here came together precisely as the term “social distancing” became a sudden and irreversible part of the global narrative and lexicon, when my daughter’s safety felt terrifyingly out of my hands, and when, perhaps more than ever, I felt the pain and fear of distance.

(Below – Considering different mat colours.)

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