• Naseem Syed

‘Us’ by Catherine Cains

FB CCains Illustration

I’m an artist and illustrator in South Wales.

Has lockdown changed you? How? Why?

In lots of ways. I have anxiety and it sky rocketed during lockdown and is still bad but lockdown certainly made me realise even more how much I love and want to protect those around me. I literally and figuratively closed the walls around us to keep us safe. But I craved physical contact with my wider family and my friends. I worried for all of us and still do. And I’ve been worried about the state of the world in general. In material terms I have had no work and that has been hard too. My husband is a nurse in a care home in Bristol where they have had Covid and deaths from Covid. It has been the most scary time of my life.

What made you smile or brought you joy in lockdown? Can you explain it?

Having my children home in our bubble for 6 months that we never would have normally had. Yes I worry about what they missed but I think the time we had together was a gift and we grew through it. My children’s friendship blossomed, we did as much ‘fun’ stuff as we could: camping in the garden (the tent was out there for the whole 6 months and was an extra space for us), going for long walks (we even discovered a whole wood to walk through literally 5 minutes down the road where we’d never been before) we made lots of things, had mini festivals, camp fires, picnics, discos and lots more. Most Saturdays I got drunk on zoom with my family and friends playing Jackbox games together and although I have always had good relationships with my cousins we became even closer during that time. It was inspiring how the wider community came together too and still are to support those who need help most.

Have you changed since lockdown? Tell me why.

Definitely I have learnt to appreciate even more what we have even though we don’t have much. My anxiety is still bad but I keep telling myself we just need to wait it out and because of that I still feel in a kind of limbo, not being able to make plans and just taking each day as it comes.

What is the story behind your hand art?

There are two pictures, one by me and one by my daughter Nancy. Mine represents how I felt I had to protect us with love and I think Nancy’s means her family. I tried to create a safe place for us inside our four walls and in the picture inside my hands, but we filled that space with love and fun as much as we could.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

One of the greatest things to come out of all of this is the way community projects exactly like this one have been created. How people have reached out to each other even though we can’t hold each other physically.

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