There is always that sixth sense and the weird feeling; you know something is about to happen and you don't know when, where and how. I usually have this feeling in locations or buildings, for example I pass by a street and that feeling tickles me and tells me I am here for something special or different.
My most recent Deja vu happened in February and before the arrival of this bloody virus. I remember on the 6th of February, I took the tram from Manchester Market Street to my sister's house in Cornbrook. My son was sleeping on the pram so I suddenly decided to film everything. I filmed people, cars, shops and life as the tram was moving across the city. I later posted that short vidro on my Instagram and it became an inspiration for my visual art.
When things got crazy, especially with panic-buying, I looked at the video and it made me cry. That normal movement of life in the video looked so surreal, and now I had to find nappy for my one year old son, because nappies were out of stock in supermarkets.
There was no pasta, no eggs, and no flour on the shelves, and I was experiencing different feelings. News became more and more about Coronavirus and it felt like we were getting closer to the end of human existence on earth. I was thinking about the beautiful earth and all the damage we have done. I remembered animals faces during the fire in Australia just before the pandemic and it felt like the earth was trying to say ''THAT'S IT. I HAVE HAD ENOUGH. YOU DON'T DESERVE ME''. I even imagined the earth had a Cobra meeting with the universe on how to give a lesson to these stupid human beings that only using earth to sustain themselves and don't care about anything. Like a landlord that is unhappy with the way you are damaging their property and asking you to evacuate.
When these thoughts hit me, I start pickling vegetables and mixing them with vinegar which is a Persian traditional side dish called 'Torshi'. It gave me some distractions which I needed. I pickled cauliflower, carrot and cabbage. While chopping the vegetables, I was thinking I wish I could throw my worries into vinegar and close the lid. Then I check on it after some time and they turn into delicious, and positive feelings.
As human beings, we lost the most important part of our existence which was our social life. Losing social life for me was like a cat that someone cuts it's whiskers. After a while, I started feeling better and I created visual art to keep my mind off the crisis and to straighten my mind. It works about though I get worried for people who don't do art. At least we have a way to express ourselves and to escape, but the more you think in this lockdown the more this virus drives you mad. This lockdown showed me people's gardens, living rooms and specially the gap between us in the society. So many people are living in small homes or flats with young children and this lockdown has been hard for them. Some also have to live with abusive housemates or family members. Women and children suffered the most and this lockdown will continue for some time. The tragic part of it is that we all think about the virus, talk about it and have weird dreams and wondering why.
Some people tried to dance the virus away on Tik Tak to find new followers. Some became anxious and the lockdown meant too much pressure and uncertain future for them. The only good side of the lockdown is for planet earth to get a chance to rest for a few months. Also we realised that we need each other more in a new prospective.
I don't know how that lesson would effect us though and I don't know how soon we will go back to our so called ''normal routine''. I have missed people and life without a virus and I also want more serious actions to help our planet and our existence. I'm thinking of growing my own vegetables, maybe next time when I make pickles I will be proud of myself as a human being.
Mahboobeh is a multi disciplinary artist based in Manchester.
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