Final Melting Pot of 2020

Looking towards the New Year #maskon

my mask for the session was an all-seeing horned tweety – straight from the zoom art room

Here’s me with my result from the final Melting Pot session for the year, Episode no.7. Unlike the masks we’ve all been wearing over the past months, this one doesn’t have any antimicrobial properties at all. Perhaps even less than the spooky looking Plague doctors’ masks from the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries. These had beak-like structures that were filled with straw, herbs, essential oils of cloves, myrrh and other precious plants, to stave off ‘miasma‘. If I was to wear this down to my next cafe or supermarket trip, it might draw some disapproving looks. The mask (the medical version) has become a part of our social and personal policing – the dash back to the house to get a forgotten mask; the curious or even incredulous looks at people not wearing them in public places.

Copper engraving of Doctor Schnabel [i.e Dr. Beak], a plague doctor in seventeenth-century Rome, with a satirical macaronic poem (‘Vos Creditis, als eine Fabel, / quod scribitur vom Doctor Schnabel’) in octosyllabic rhyming couplets.

The Zoom Art Room has provided a good place to connect for socialising and creativity. While we’re weren’t able to meet in real life, we could feel the warmth of togetherness in the act of making. Our conversations are varied. Sometimes we’ve talked about isolation and loneliness. We’ve investigated the brain origins of creativity. We’ve considered how this withdrawal from society has consequences for our confidence.

Art making (or art practice) has the capacity to be a practical companion to our psyche. This active companion comes alongside the lives we live, allowing access to different forms of expression.

2021 beckons, are we brave enough to wade into it? I have nine large blank canvases waiting for the brushes – more painting is definitely on my resolutions list! Similarly, there are nine more, as-yet-unknown projects to evolve within the Live WELL-COME Share project that I’ve created, funded by VicHealth, and supported and managed by Baw Baw Shire Council. One day at a time…

Happy New Year!

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