These are terribly dark and confusing times. Corona Virus has changed everything and it will wreak havoc for months to come at least. It is time to put our creativity to use in our communities. It is time to make solidarity and humanity our art.

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Homemade antibacterial hand wash at Space 6 where I work from.Homemade antibacterial hand wash at Space 6 where I work from.

Homemade antibacterial hand wash at Space 6 where I work from.

TIME TO MAKE SOLIDARITY AND HUMANITY OUR ART

I awoke this morning to birds singing and warm sunshine. Outside, there is a freshness in the air. Spring is coming. But this is a strange springtime. The earth still turns, its beauty is everywhere. Yet people all over the globe are terrified, unsure about what the future holds.

We have too easily lulled ourselves into comfortable existences built upon exploitation of our fellow humans and nature and every last resource this planet has to offer. We live in comfort and we live in denial. We vote for uncertainty and in the hope of feeling more certain. We leave communities behind and think this makes us stronger. We compete with each other daily in so many different ways. We often don’t even know our neighbours. We are individuals now and our societies are in tatters.

And all we can do is hoard pasta and medicines and fight one another in supermarket aisles.

Corona Virus is frightening, not only because it is and will continue to kill people in our communities and make many more people ill, or because it will mean massive upheavals to our everyday lives and devastating economic damage, but because it is some that reveals the true fragility of human beings and the power of nature to avenge us. And years and years of austerity and individualism have left us less well equipped than possibly any generation of people before us.

These are terrible times and I feel sad and unsure of what will happen next; of what will happen in the future.

It is easy to worry about how my family will cope with the pressure, the illnesses, the lock-downs, the terrible feelings and emotions, the lack of earnings, the sadness as a virus moves among us. As a freelancer, I am very concerned about how I will earn any money and support my family. I am very happy to see that Arts Council England are looking to support people like me and I’m very grateful to the people and organisations who have been so understanding. This is truly moving and a sign of genuine compassion in very difficult times for everyone.

This is not a time for party politics. But it is a time for all of us to find our humanity and our solidarity during the next few months. We are facing testing times and a wake-up call. We must realise that our ways of living and being together on this planet are fragile and that nature cannot really be conquered or subdued.

So, let’s make these next few months a new beginning not an end. Let’s begin showing compassion and understanding to one another. Let’s call for emergency measures to protect us economically – to pause capitalism and face this pandemic without having to worry about losing pay or our homes. Let’s support every effort to help those most at risk. Let’s help everyone by standing together and helping each other. Let’s rekindle one of the base human instincts – that of collectivism and community.

I’ve joined my local COVID-19 Mutual Aid group which, at the time of writing, has more than 600 members. Why not join yours? Find out more here.

I’m going to make my focus support my community and my friends and my family. We who fit and able must support those who are not or who cannot leave their homes. There is only so much any government can do. This is a time when we must stand together and show how much we care for one another.

We can use our creativity to help our communities through this frightening time.

It is time to make solidarity and humanity our art.

And perhaps, when the pandemic is over, we can use our experiences and new relationships to change our ways of living and to relocate our community spirit and our community pride.

Take care and stay strong.

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