Just recently, I have come back to New Orleans from New York City because I was unable to pay rent. I came to stay at a friends house in one of the oldest parts of the city. New Orleans has a very rich and old history. I am currently staying in one of the oldest buildings in the city and it is haunted. I can only imagine the horrors which took place within these walls, yet I’m also aware there were and are good times as well. I painted this piece the day after experiencing a sort of ghostly presence throughout the night.
The ghostly presence is not only throughout the house, but in the city, and the world. Covid-19 has created mass absences in two of the greatest cities in the United States. This absence is felt and seen. The haunting aspect is something I cannot escape, and it seems to be not only the ghost that scare me. In such a crisis, I am grateful for everything I have. My heart goes out to the children who are forced to stay in uncomfortable housing situations. The children who are out of school, and are not being fed by school lunches. The parents who are struggling to pay rent, to feed their children, and who are out of work. It really is times like this that disturb me the most, that haunt me. What we see is people afraid of a virus that cannot be seen. I am afraid of what is being seen. The social structures of todays society and how security is something that depends on socio-economic status.
Oppression is ancient. The inter relations of socio-economic status and security, health, and happiness, is ancient. These concepts haunt the world, globally. They are the ghosts, which linger through the night, and haunt through the pandemic.
Though I felt the ghost in this building which was built in 1849, they are not what I am truly afraid of. I am afraid of how the pandemic creates a greater divide between the rich and poor. I am afraid of how Covid-19 deepens the stress of oppression. I am afraid of the ignorance and the self pity of people in comfort. And more importantly, I am afraid that this could be used to be apart of a larger agenda.