the last seven days

Lockdown drawing from The NOTHING TO SEE HERE series 2020

I haven’t written in more than three months. Prior to lockdown I was too busy with design works and company work and since lockdown, drawing has been my way of processing these times. But in the past seven days, there has been much to acknowledge and I am choosing to write a little about it here.

Last Saturday, about midday, our foster dog Jess left us to go to her forever home. Jess has been our lockdown rock and I think I will always remember the lovely moments (plenty of difficult days to remember too) during lockdown in the shape and feel of Jess. She really is a gorgeous animal with so much love to give and receive.  We started fostering dogs almost exactly a year ago. We love dogs. And whenever we have a spell at home like a couple of weeks or so we look after dogs who are waiting to be adopted. 

On Sunday night as I was reading in bed The Debatable Land and then I checked my phone. The news announcing the passing of one of my role models stared right at me. I must have been about 5 years old when I saw a poster of the Surrounded Islands in the one room flat of our family friends Dima and Joro. I distinctly remember thinking how did they do that, who did that? Then, in my early teenage years I looked for ways to align my story to his. I was also looking for some kind of freedom. Then I was about twenty one when I first stood in front of seven of Christo’s drawings in some west end London gallery, somewhere up some stairs in an old apartment with a cool receptionist who looked at me, scanned me up and down and I could read her thought:- a romantic nobody looking at a genius. Yeah, she was right. It’s completely insane to wish or imagine there is a tiny piece of Christo in me, but it’s sort of how it feels to me, so I am gonna stay with the impossibility and claim it as mine. After all, what are role models if not claiming a bit of their genius as close to me. It must be the common land and history and peoples we share that makes it feel like, he is a little bit mine too.

On Tuesday, I blacked out my social media profile in solidarity with the numerous black lives lost. It is an insignificant gesture really, there is a lot more to do than that, but we all need to do our collective imperfect best. I understand that I will never understand but I stand next to my friends of colour and I count myself lucky to think I have a few. If you can donate, please do support Black Lives Matter UK.

Tuesday was also nine years since the rebirth of my little sister Damyana who we nearly lost when she was just four. Each year we mark her birthday twice, the day of her actual birth and the day her soul came back to us after a near death accident. For those of you who have seen Near Gone, you may know a little of what that might have felt like. I celebrate her every day, she is my purpose.

Wednesday marked a long day of making some decisions. Or trying to make some decisions. We received over 150 submissions for FIELD and choosing was very hard. It was a kind of slow heartbreak that we can not do more at this time. But also a kind of commitment to do more, everyday, in whatever way we can. I then listened to Bernardine Evaristo.  

On Thursday I mainly cried. I hadn’t slept well for a few nights. I joined a zoom and spoke to our dear friends Rich, Jyothi, Ivan and Helene and I spoke of hardship. They were simply amazing, as they always are. Later in the afternoon I joined another zoom about care and I cried some more, I managed to do that off camera this time. We sent over one hundred and forty disappointing emails and that felt so difficult, I felt, I feel so guilty and so not enough and so like I carry so much responsibility. Later that night I cried some more.

On Friday we set off to do our first bit of creative work, the first time I had left home to do some socially distanced work since March. We drove a little and not just to check our eyesight but also to film a little BSL video of A Journey of a Home which we are releasing on 11th June. We drove to Hadrian’s Wall. A place of history. Journey is a bit, a big bit, of my history too. A piece about migration and travel, about crossing borders and of learning. So, if you fancy a 20 minute walk with us, check it out here from 7:30pm on 11th June. 

It’s Saturday again, today, and it’s about midday and I am about to join Sonia Hughes and Jo Fong’s The Sun has Come Out. I watched them write earlier in the week and I loved it, so I am going back for more. Thank you Sonia and Jo.

And thank you, dear Reader.

Drawing for A Journey of a Home (online) 2020