Artist Sarah Shaw who has previously created art collections for Twr y Felin Hotel was approached in 2019 to produce further works for the 20 bedroom extension being built. As she began work, the Covid pandemic arrived and informed her approach to the theme.

‘The return of silence’, Sarah Shaw

In the year 2020 life as we knew it fundamentally changed. No one could comprehend what the outbreak of the novel coronavirus Covid -19 would mean to the world, to Europe, to any country or to any single individual in the weeks and months to come.  George Orwell in his seminal novel 1984 only barely imagined a world gripped in fear banning individual free movement and the connection of peoples; borders closed, airplanes grounded. Life, as we know it grinding to a fearsome halt.

Covid has had undeniable and horrific consequences on so many people’s lives and on the economy – it would be easy to despair if not for the myriad silver linings that this darkness has highlighted; outcomes that could have a long-term positive impact on the planet and on humanity itself.

After personal research I’ve taken positives that can be drawn from this time of pandemic.

In general it seemed that the people I asked were happy and enthusiastic to share the positivity that that they perceived throughout those darkest of days.

‘There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in’

Leonard Cohen.

Their responses tended to echo each other and spoke of gratitude, love, a greater appreciation of the simpler things in life, closer bonds with family and friends and ironically, in a time of lockdown, a greater sense of connection through adaptive and innovative methods such as zoom, skype and WebEx where we found different ways to maintain not only our working lives but also our social lives, keeping in contact with loved ones and in some cases making new connections and friends.

Others who responded spoke of the beauty of the returning of silence to our world; the capacity to again hear birdsong in cities, a deep appreciation for a planet where wildlife had the chance to return to its wildest form again: from goats taking over the empty lockdown streets of Llandudno to sika deer wandering through city streets and subway stations in Nara, Japan. They spoke of gladness to see a sky with ‘real clouds, like in old paintings – a time in which there were no planes’ and the joy of seeing pollution levels in our rivers and seas decreasing. Nature receiving a well-earned reset from the selfish machinations of mankind.

Others spoke of learning to truly appreciate and value ourselves, our time and each other and as human beings finding ever more inventive ways to transform this darkest of experiences; learning to knit, sew, play instruments, learn languages, grow our own food and become self-sustainable; adapt, entertain and cheer each other. We witnessed many acts of kindness and good humour all over the world from the Italian opera singers belting out arias on their balconies to entertain their locked down companions to the smallest and kindest of donations to our nations foodbanks and charities to help those less well off than ourselves. The general consensus amongst the people who responded is that we seem, despite the times and forces against us, to be emerging as somewhat better, transformed and infinitely kinder human beings.

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