AVY LOFTUS // Montreal, Quebec, Canada

“Art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos.”

Saul Bellow (1915-2005)

When I received an open invitation from Kathleen to participate in this project, I was in the middle of a chaotic time. Not only was I finalizing my master’s studies and taking care of my sick spouse, I was also coping, as we all are, with being in a global pandemic. At that moment, I needed a channel that would bring me stillness, and art has always been my positive outlet.

I created a piece of artwork which represents the things I do during the pandemic – Creation, Clarification, Collaboration, and Connection. The shadow puppet represents how I felt in the beginning of the pandemic, swayed by the sudden changes around me. In the end, I am gaining a clearer perspective on what I can control and how to let it go of what I cannot. This artwork is also inspired by Kathleen O’Meara’s poem “And People Stayed Home”:

And people stayed home
and read books and listened
and rested and exercised
and made art and played
and learned new ways of being
and stopped
and listened deeper
someone meditated
someone prayed
someone danced
someone met their shadow
and people began to think differently
and people healed
and in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways,
dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
even the earth began to heal
and when the danger ended
and people found each other
grieved for the dead people
and they made new choices
and dreamed of new visions
and created new ways of life
and healed the earth completely
just as they were healed themselves.

< Comforting, connecting >