As we begin the New Year, in this 2021 Review – Part One I have chosen eight of my posts from last year with which to remember some of its highs and lows, all of which moved me to respond in the best way I know how.
The last leaf
On February 15th I added the last leaf to 851 leaves that I had begun drawing in October 2020 to remember all of the children so cruelly separated from their parents by both the United States Government under the last administration and by the Canadian Government over generations as described in my post Shame and Prejudice that was inspired by a visit to an exhibition of that name by the artist Kent Monkman at the Museum of Anthropology.
On March 15th, Yo Yo Ma playing Bach’s Cello Suite No 1 for those waiting to receive their vaccinations in Pittsfield Massachusetts after he had received his, was a truly inspiring moment of grace and beauty amidst the fear and despair felt by so many. If you open the original post “Thank you Yo Yo” you can listen to his playing the prelude from the suite and be moved by his mastery and humanity.
On April 12th I was honoured to see my tribute to the Vancouver General Hospital’s ECMO team,”The Meeting Point,” being hung in the ICU at VGH.
The drawing is also a tribute to all our health care heroes for whom the words “Thank You” can never be said enough as I expressed in the description that accompanies the piece:
When the Science of Medicine meets the Art of Medicine to save lives in the COVID unit at Vancouver General Hospital. I would like to suggest that ECMO, which stands for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, could also stand for Ever Compassionate Medical Optimism, thanks to the dedication and bravery of our frontline healthcare workers epitomized by the caring nurse-specialist portrayed in my drawing.
The Meeting Point
On September 2nd I completed my painting of 6 year old Suzy Eshkuntana being rescued from the rubble of her bombed out family home in Gaza that took place In the early hours of the 16th of May. She had been buried alive for seven hours after it was hit by an Israeli rocket that killed her mother and four of her siblings. Just a few days later I began the painting of her rescue, based on a photograph by the Reuters photographer Mohammed Salem, which as I wrote in my post The Rescue would “celebrate her life being saved, and in memory of the family she has lost.”
On Labour Day the often violent protest against our health care heroes was, and sadly continues to be, a shameful reflection of elements of our society that certainly can never be considered civilized. Whatever happened to reason, grace and gratitude? Read the heartbreaking words from one of our nurse heroes, which I quoted in full in the post.
“A miserable rabble of unworthy citizenry.”
30th September, Orange Shirt Day, was Canada’s 1st National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. The findings of the unmarked graves of so many children at the sites of the Indian Residential Schools brought us all together as a country in a state of national grief, shame and remembrance.
Every child matters
December 31st, New Year’s Eve, could not be a more fitting end to this look back to 2021, with the magic and beauty of the snow in the Pacific Spirit Park, a place of sanctuary and peace for us throughout the year and which gives us all hope for whatever the year ahead may bring.
Pacific Spirit Park, December 31st 2021
Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year