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Covid changes

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

As the Corona virus extended it bat-fuelled wings, impacting our lives in ways that only epidemiologists and the like could have previously conceived, it became increasingly apparent that plans for the immediate future were no longer probabilities but rather flimsy possibilities. The relative certainly that one could go to work, to a concert, a restaurant, socialise, visit family, and, in particular, travel – eroded over the past few months as countries attempted to lessen the impact of the virus in the only way they new how. We all had to adjust to the new norms of “lockdown”, “shelter in place”, “self isolate” and “self quarantine”.

Fortunately, as an artist accustomed to working from home, I easily settled into the new restrictions, grateful for my creature comforts and that none of my loved ones had contracted the virus. But...I was not so at ease initially, as fear prevailed and my travel and work plans were rapidly de-railing,...

In February, I was offered my 2-month casual academic position, teaching at the National Art School in Sydney. As always, I was very excited about this, not just for the fact that I love the school and thoroughly enjoy teaching there, but also, as I get to catch up with friends and family in that part of the world. It is one of the highlights of my year and once confirmed, I swing into planning mode, booking flights, creating a list of activities, lists of people to see and places to go. I was even booked to DJ at a friends wedding in Queensland!

Unfortunately, like so many people, all of my best-laid plans had to be abandoned. The teaching job, the wedding, visits with dear friends, visit to NZ to see family and finally even the flight from Munich to Sydney – all cancelled. Of course this didn’t happen over night and I can remember initially feeling quite anxious as the Corona news reported more deaths, accelerated travel restrictions and closures. At that stage, with each new regulation, I re-configured my plans to suit. I would not stay with my vulnerable older friends but rather, rent an apartment. I would arrive in the country early enough to allow for a 2-week self quarantine before teaching. I would wear a mask, use gloves and disinfect my seat area on the flight. Alas, finally I had to accept the reality that I was not going to Australia and New Zealand after all.

So here I am, enjoying my first spring in Munich. My husband, Christian, continues to work, so we have not been hard hit financially, as so many others have and feel very grateful. I am also earning. Incredibly, the National Art School decided to honour all casual staff contracts signed in the first semester of 2020, regardless of whether those staff were able to perform their duties on campus or not. This generous commitment gave me some serious warm fuzzies as it affirms that NAS truly value their casual staff. The feeling is mutual and I look forward to continuing my employment at NAS in the hopefully Covid19-free-years to come!

In the meanwhile, I am pleased to have some online “teacher support” hours with NAS scheduled for June. I will be assisting first year students as they work from home, creating artist books around the concept of “mapping place”. The project has inspired me to take a brief hiatus from my ceramic sculptures and return to my own works on paper, which incorporate a lot of the processes the students are asked to explore – tracing, transfer, collage and printing.

At the beginning of this post I talked about how plans are not certain, how they can be suddenly upheaved or turned to custard, by such a thing as Covid-19. My own experience of this change has ultimately been a positive one. I have been able to embark on new art projects, initiate and maintain healthy new habits, reflect on what is important, learn new skills, connect with family online and complete long overdue projects …such as writing for my blog! I realise this has not been the case for everyone and I sincerely hope that we are indeed over the hump now.

I will return soon with images of what I have been working on. In the meantime, I hope that y’all have managed to get through these scary pandemic days in good health, without heartache and without too much sacrifice.

PS: WordPress has just informed me that this is too long and I have used passive voice too often etc etc. I feel like I have just received a bad school report! Probably correct though and from now on short entries only!

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