SHAHRZAD ARSHADI // Verdun, Quebec, Canada
The first two months of the pandemic and the continuous injustice happening to humanity near and far, the realization or maybe the confirmation that our governments (capitalist systems) are never ready to protect us, became stronger! The healthcare systems, even in the most “developed” or “progressive” countries are only based on profit and money, not on the actual welfare of their citizens.
Death, death, and death was everywhere! Even a virus as bad as COVID-19 couldn’t bring humanity to be kind and understanding towards each other. Turkish fighter jets were still bombarding Kurdish villages. Iran was still imprisoning and executing dissidents. Young Black men and women were still getting killed on the streets of the United States because of the colour of their skin. Syria was still at war and the Indigenous people of Turtle Island were still being mistreated and disrespected!
I was feeling my HOPE fade away! The light of struggle was leaving my heart! It was the strangest feeling that I’d ever experienced. It was always hope that allowed me to survive the hardships of the brutal fundamentalist revolution, war, displacement, and exile. Nothing could take away my hope and my wish for a better world. What was happening now?! I had no answer. All I knew was that I couldn’t even bring myself to think about my artwork.
On one cold spring night of isolation, feeling deeply restless, I went to the basement to bring up my big plastic container of pieces of colorful fabrics. I dug into the container and emptied the kitchen table to make a place to work. I brought out the pieces that caught my attention and put them beside each other. I took out my needle and thread box and started sewing the first two pieces of cloth that most drew my attention.
Next thing I noticed, it was 2:30 a.m. and I had been stitching one piece after another for the past four and half hours.
Since that cold spring night، I have repeated my quilt ritual frequently, at every opportunity I can find. I stitch pieces of fabric, one by one, with great patience and with the understanding that it is only our unity that can make us stronger against any odds, regardless of our differences, regardless of our gender or our colour.
What is art for? To find different ways of expressing our thoughts and to share memories and stories that are otherwise difficult to share.