WHITEFEATHER HUNTER // Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
In March 2020, I became infected with the novel coronavirus, SARS Cov-2 after my partner returned from travel overseas. Once I battled my way through the horrifying, acute phase of infection and survived, I became what is now known as a, “COVID longhauler.” When I first became infected, almost nothing was known about COVID-19, and thus, many like me (those initially deemed ‘mild’ cases) were left to process and grapple with a terrifying disease that morphed and lingered, mostly on our own. We experienced being gaslighted, disbelieved, and silenced by the medical community and society at large.
As an artist, one of my most powerful tools for processing internal and social challenges, and then communicating them to the outside world, is through artmaking. Being presented with the ‘problem’ of a diverse set of materials—the fabric and paper scraps—and creating a ‘solution’ by piecing them together into a visual object, allowed me to focus energy on patching together my sense of self again, in my new reality. The object presented, a patchwork mask, metaphorically represents the scraps of help I received to battle the disease. These are sewn together into a representation of the ubiquitous social object that has both unified and divided humanity as we all negotiate the disease and its impacts.