Birth in a Pandemic
As you can see above, Alicia’s artwork is incredibly captivating. As an editor, I was immensely intrigued by the story behind the work. Since publication, I have discussed the origins of the painting with Alicia who was pregnant during the pandemic. Unable to go out except for doctor appointments, this was a very strange time for her. In July, Alicia gave birth to her son whilst wearing a mask. Birth in a Pandemic is Alicia’s visual representation of her experience.
Alicia has explained that ‘as mothers we do all we can to keep our baby safe. We hold that baby up, even if it means we are struggling to not drown ourselves’. If you look at the vines and the waves in the image, you will see that there are many forces trying to drag the mother down or push her over, but the mother’s strength triumphs as she holds the baby safe above it all. I absolutely loved this message of female strength and I think it rings particularly true during lockdown when so many women are dealing with and have dealt with so many different trials and often completely on their own.
The overall positivity of the image from the colourful detail to the light radiating from the baby sparks hope for me, which is also so important during a pandemic. I don’t think we could have had an artwork more reflective of the times than this one which is fully invested in both the present state and hope for the future. The story is also a wonderful combination of both the global and the personal.
Alicia has informed me that her artistic process involves sketching out the story, followed by creating the background with acrylic paint and then finally completing the detail with paint pens. This detail almost reminds me of sequin art, the intricate detail of which is always beautiful and requires great patience. Alicia referred to this process as ‘meditative’ and I can see how the repetitive motion of this kind of art, like that of sequin art, could be quite therapeutic. Alicia also explained how the process of creation helps her to fully grasp the story she is trying to convey upon the page. I thought this was a lovely way of thinking about the artistic process and one I can very much relate to as a creative writer.
Finally, I wanted to end on the note that Alicia hopes that others who have had similar experiences will be able to get some sense of healing through encountering her paintings. This is a heart-warming message, and especially applicable at this time. When we are locked down, and our lives are very much limited, production and reception of the arts are wonderful ways to process and explore our emotions and thereby begin to heal our scars.
Amber Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief
Original feature image by SeppH; retrieved from Pixabay.com.