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Isolation in My Little Apartment

Artist Blog by Azad Amin

2019 was not a good year for the people of my homeland, Iran. Right from the beginning of the Persian New Year, Nowrouz, at the vernal equinox several days of heavy rainfall gave way to devastating floods in different regions of the country. This last month of the year which has always been the busiest and most exciting time of the year is now passing towards the end of this current solar year in the quietest and most grayish mood, and the reason is nothing but the world’s most repeated denomination in late 2019/early 2020 namely Coronavirus alias COVID-19.

Some countries announced the situation at hand the most critical since the end of the Second World War. In my hometown, Teheran, schools, and universities have been closed since Esfand 2nd (February 21st), and people have been asked to stay at home in the form of home quarantine. My little family has not been an exception to the general fact. So we entered the home quarantine in the name and hope of keeping ourselves and others safe from the virus. It remained the two of us in a 73 square meter apartment that we ought not to leave for an indefinite duration of time. I began to register this obligatory and yet voluntary confinement in photographs. The first days were not especially difficult to pass; the people of the large metropolises are always welcoming occasions for resting and relaxation, and the occasion was there for us; what could be more desirable?

The first weeks passed with music, reading, watching movies, and cooking. Then came fundamental care for all the plants and flowers at home and exercise walking on the rooftop that we rarely had been before, in fact only for the occasions of repairing the cooler machine stationed there. The rooftop these days has become our airy favorite dwelling place!! Next, we began to follow the news by the moment; we sought some suggestions of hope but whatever we saw and read amounted to bad news together with the fear of a dark future: there has not been found a remedy for the final treatment of the disease; the curve of contamination accelerates upward with a stupefying pace; 50 million jobs are in danger. … And these are only a section of our daily share of bombardment by the news.

After the passing of one month, I thought how different the meaning of ‘everyday life’ has become. The denomination that usually went to point at our difficult times and less desirable conditions had become a dream hard to attain; ‘everyday life’ with all the values that we were short of seeing and all the allusive pleasures that we hardly appreciated. Oh, how delightful are all those things that we thought of as little or not much: embracing our loved ones, the company of friends, the pleasure of eating out and shopping for the occasion of the New Year, and the delight of the New Year’s visits … all were lost to us because of this newly hatched virus.

But what can one do? A Persian saying tells us that “man is alive by hope.” When there is nowhere to go but hoping for a better day and time you do everything to keep the hope alive in your heart, and you comfort yourself with the notion that the haven of your own home is the best corner in the whole world to retire to. Even if you have not for a long time seen your loved ones living right in the neighboring residential quarter, even if your income has been cut short, and even if many projects that you dream of attaining must be delayed for an unknown period, you have no other way out but staying alive by hoping for the best.

I have registered this period of our recent history through the window of my camera in my little apartment and with my little family as a testimony to keeping the hope alive for appreciating the freshly arriving spring and the ‘return’ of life, … and who knows even a new beginning for a new era in the history of humanity.

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