'Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.
We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us.
Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.’
Arundhati Roy: ‘The Pandemic is a Portal’
For most of us the first few days of the Lockdown was an experience of blurred reality. Perhaps we are transitioning, living through a moment of transformative change, to arrive at a different way of living.
In response my work explores the moments of transition in our locked down days: by making work in the early morning and late afternoon light, I use the opening and closing of the day as a metaphor for beginnings, endings and change. I live in and am drawn to the ‘natural’ landscape. I love the slowness of the garden, of growing my own food. Like so many of us I have noticed a real change in the quality of the air, a lack of traffic noise, a greater awareness of birdsong and the sensation of time itself being slower.
The purpose of my reading over the past few weeks has been an attempt to counterbalance the often contradictory and sombre news updates with pieces of prose and poetry.
By juxtaposing my reading with my work, I hope to draw the viewer’s inner eye to the sensation of inner peace and of time slowed. By framing my work within these moments of change in the natural world I find a sense of time, of simply living in its flow.
Some of this series was commissioned by Historic England as part of a series of ten artists around the UK producing work in response to the Lockdown period. It is now in their archive as a permanent record.
Roy Mehta, April 2020