Life during quarantine and social distancing has changed us all as well as challenges us to find good news in the daily sameness. The following ‘Silver Lining” perspective is that of an artist providing a background interpretation on a series of paintings on the value of motherhood.
Full disclosure: the artist is Natalie Campbell, my daughter, professional artist and mother of 2 of the world’s most awesome children. In addition to being a fan of her work, I wanted to share her perspective of hope shining on the very challenging time of raising small children under quarantine. Natalie’s good news should be something we’re all able to enjoy:
“I am currently working on a series that explores the value of time spent connecting with loved ones, specifically through the lens of motherhood.
One of the things that has unraveled for many during this pandemic is the sense of time passing. Pre-coronavirus Time (PT) was a vestige of the Industrial Age, where time was consumed in precisely measured increments imposed by the structure of our society. During PT, the value of time was primarily based upon productivity. We even described time in monetary terms such as “spending time”, “earning time off”, etc. Under Quarantine Time (QT) imposed by COVID-19, the passing days have taken on a much more elusive and fluid quality. For our family and friends, time is now measured by the connections we have built and by being present in the moments we are given. I have witnessed nuggets of opportunity to restructure the way we relate to our loved ones during a plague of Biblical proportions. Choosing presence over our to-do list. Listening. Slowing.
I see the silver lining of QT most clearly in my role as a mother. When schools are suddenly closed and all other means of socialization are on hold, we are our children’s teachers as well as caregivers and leaders. This role is tough, but there are opportunities to celebrate. To me, more important than the schooling done through equations and experiments is the schooling of modeling compassion, forgiveness, listening.
Through this series of paintings, I am communicating the value of connecting with our children and influencing them through our very presence in their world of play. I made crowns and jewelry using the toys and other objects that signify favorite ways of engaging with our children. Replacing gold and jewels with simple, everyday objects makes a statement about what should we should truly hold as our highest values. Under QT, it has become clear to many that time spent in something as mundane as play with our children holds more weight than precious stones.
With ample playfulness, these images encompass the perceptible value shift many in our culture have realized; that all along the true value of our time and lives as whole is measured in the relationships we foster, and our full presence in them. This is a weighty time which we are living. My goal is to capture a spark of beauty and opportunity in the midst of a suffering world, thus inspiring hope in every viewer.”