I'm an artist who writes or a writer who paints. I'm also a passionnate cat rescuer and animal rights advocate. I love to study humans even if they freak me out.
If 2020 was the year from Hell, for artist Manuel Mathieu, it was the year he came home, courtesy of Le Musée des Beau-Arts de Montréal. It was the year of his first solo show, Survivance, and remarkably, the first solo show by a black artist at that institution. An event that was so long overdue, I cannot think what reasons the powers that be at the museum could have for waiting until 2020 for this to happen.
The gifts of the pandemic.
We never imagined that we would live through these strange times, did we? Not us. Not in our modern technologically advanced world. Older generations lived through wars, rationing and blackouts while, today still, in many countries, famine, strife and chaos abound. But for us North Americans? We mostly have it easy. We took it for granted and perhaps rightly so. Civilization moves forward and carries us along. This pandemic has given us a massive slap in the face that was overdue. It’s time to understand that we are not the top dog we believe ourselves to be. Our ego has been checkmated. The death toll on the news every day reminds us of the fragility of our lives and the precariousness of our comfort.
Vanish Anna Wiki would disintegrate today. Tonight rather. At precisely eleven fifty-nine. She would miss her next decade by a second. Her last instant on earth would see her as a long-retired seventy-nine years old record-keeper. Then, pfft! Off to the great wizard. Or whatever lay ahead. She was not the least bit nervous. She had known all her adult life that said life would come to an end at that moment. She had chosen so. Like every other human in her world, she chose her moment. A small price to pay for a life free of disease, hunger, fear, and economic uncertainties. How did folks in the past lived and managed the horrible diseases that befell them? Dementia? Alzheimer? Pandemics? Cancer? So many ghastly conditions! Yet, even with all sorts of health issues, those ancient people wanted to live very badly. Suicide was rare if history was true. Sick children! Anna had never seen a sick child but she could not imagine anything worse. Food banks? It boggled the mind to know that humans once begged for nourishment. Losing their employment? How could a person lose something so fundamental as a personal contribution to society? In 2146, those things no longer existed. You lived a healthy, plentiful, safe, productive well-balanced life and at your chosen time, it ended cleanly and swiftly. Anna was not afraid. She had an excellent whiskey to accompany her along with memories of a rich meaningful life. She planned to celebrate her vanishing with both. Especially the whiskey.