Spaces and how they change

May 12, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

In the art world around us, there seems to be a theme: spaces and the meaning of being human, being a person. Actually, it is an appropriate time to ponder those elements. The smallest thing can change a life – change both our personal space and in some measure – great or small – alter our own idea of ourselves or of those we know. People we know really because they are our people or indifferently because they are part of the virtual ether around us.

According to folklore, a butterfly can change spaces at a great distance and I am not sure how much I believe that but a wind far away can stir the dust under our feet, realistically and metaphorically. Yes, in this day and age of knowing so much about all the goings- on in distant places, even the knowing can foster change within our own small sphere.

We can be well aware of an individual life on the other side of the world and we might care about that life and find ourselves worrying and then doing something about it, changing our own lives. Or that life might be joyous and we can care and do something about our own life to push it toward a similar joy.

We are confronted in this space and these times by profound unreasonable-ness that is turning politicians back into generals readying for war. UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is promising to protect Sweden from aggression, with Finland next on his list, countries with a raging Bear for a neighbour and that Bear threatening them not to become involved with NATO…

What has happened to Putin’s space, to his own definition of himself and his country’s image, posing Ukraine as another Nazi regime, praising Russia’s defeat of Germany 70 years ago and pretending that an identical foe is to be decimated now– thousands murdered in the name of this fiction? A whole nation of 145 million people reading this utter untruth in their newspapers, violent colours on the front pages – Putin’s heroic fist punching the air, determined to succeed and never mind how many years nor how much blood it costs.

There is the probability that on our home turf, real estate has somehow morphed from being a matter of finding a suitable place to live into a business run by crime. I would just like to say that paying double what a property is worth is not an investment because that money can never see a profit. Ergo, the money is almost certainly a matter for investigation as to its source. It is long since time for governments to be asking serious questions for already, there have been news items of property buying as money laundering…

I had planned to wax poetic, as the saying goes but brutal reality got in the way and we have an election to come – historically pivotal for this province. I really hope that the Liberals, NDP and Greens will come forward to save this fine province, come in time with such good people and such excellent policies that the most ardent Conservative will want to jump ship and want to care for the people of this land and the land itself. Whatever good reason and reasoned rhetoric it takes to stop the potential destruction of land and massive waste of money, let that win the day.

It is fascinating to watch the arts masters – the arts councils, publishers, government grant offices pushing for the arts to be more inclusive – this is a good thing of course but it is honestly a response to the tide of change and very long overdue. Such hypocrisy to all of sudden to insist that inclusive should be the back bone of the arts – it should have been part of that back bone all along.

This should have been part of our spaces and our identity – always. Put a crowd of young children together of mixed races and they will play together without bothering about what colour their skins are. This is who we are as humans – this is how our spaces and identities are meant to be – not noticing, not caring because building those blocks, and digging in that sand matters – not the colour of your fingers or my fingers. Just the play – just the fun.

Maybe, that is the answer: that as humans, we have left out having fun more than we should have. Laughter as we all know is good medicine but we keep drowning it by creating bad news as if that is more exciting, as if laughter is something frivolous – dealing in unimportant matters – like going to war for no reason. Destroying the planet for money – denying our children their futures for short-sightedness.

Maybe, if we had paid more attention to watching our tiny children play with each other, ignoring the unimportant issue of colour or other differences, if we had kept those feelings close to our hearts, we wouldn’t be scrambling for sanity now.

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