It’s mid August. 2020; possibly the worst year in recent memory. I so wish this nightmare is just that and we will wake up, wondering what it was about, have a good laugh at our silly mind working overtime at night again. But it is not a nightmare. It is real. It turns everyone around us a potential enemy, knowingly or not. I suddenly feel the burden of living. Never did I ever question life no matter the hardship; the defense was that it was a privilege, for as long as we had good health, a few pennies in our pocket, blah blah… But this is different. It affects the whole planet, it has dragged on for five months and no sign of containment. This is a war when the enemies are invisible, one without reason or ideologies. There are no willing participants only unsuspected, innocent victims. Every business, office, places of social gathering, every building, park, every person and structure is affected. It is nonsensical, illogical, surreal, unbelievable yet, the reality is, it was possibly caused by human stupidity or greed. The short-sighted greed to serve themselves that in turn kills them and everyone around them.
Time goes on without pause. The summer here in Toronto is a blessing, it has rained, and it has shone but weather pales in order of importance. It is August. Mid-year. I am also at a midpoint of my study for an art degree that all my life, I thought perhaps one day I would get here. Now that I am here, there is still one more year to the finishing line. And I pause to reflect. What is this all about? What is the purpose?
So many challenges, suffering, hardship all around me. Life loses that shine, the varnish that has kept despair at bay. The ray of hope for a better tomorrow. The sun will always rise then. The resilient hopeful belief that there is that difference because we are the smartest species on this planet. But there comes the question of why do most of us only want to cause harm, destroy, suppress, seeking bad things, stealing, lying, wanting to control others? If we are that smart, we should never create challenges we are incapable of solving.
It is unjustifiable to observe children wearing masks, prevented from playgrounds, separated from their own loved ones and friends. Adults losing their employments from no fault of their doing, businesses collapsed, some only got organised in recent months. If this is a lesson about greed, it is the harshest, applied to some who might not be so guilty. It is not right to see masked people lined up at banks in order to transact their financial business.
I am an artist, I create art, I do not know much about science, politics or social studies. I am a solitary creature, I love quietude and isolation in order to produce meaningful, thoughtful art. But the complete silence outside since mid March is astounding. The city was suddenly empty, deserted. The largest, most vibrant city in Canada. It reminded me of the cemetery where my mother was laid to rest. Where the still, tranquil air reminds me of my father’s spirit. When living people are inactive, it is eerie and sad. The knowledge that Toronto was only one city. The whole world was empty. This is the sadness that will carry over to 2021 and beyond. Once again, I am reminded of the sorrow and questions life thrusts upon us. It is 1975, times 100.