Covid Comforts reflects on the suffering and isolation brought on by COVID-19. The work speaks to the frightening loneliness people have felt during the pandemic.
Thinking of Clare and Donald Winnicott’s ideas about transitional objects, I imagined people digging out their childhood attachments, teddy bears, blankets and the like, to help them deal with separation anxiety.
I have always been interested in the power of cartoon and caricature. The figures in Covid Comforts are amalgams of friends and strangers whose features intrigue me. They have put away the disguises they wear for the outside world and are taking refuge at home, naked, vulnerable and afraid. They are misfits in the way the pandemic made misfits of normally sociable people around the planet, who spent day after day living in isolation, often with troubled thoughts.
For the comfort objects I have given them to hold, I thought of toys from my own childhood, Chatty Cathy and Trolls, and toys my children loved, such as Barney. A friend asked if a figure could hold Nemo, a toy close to her heart.
I was surprised to learn that a third of adults sleep with soft comfort toys. I asked on Instagram if people were wishing they hadn’t thrown out their cuddly toys. I had little response. However, one brave 62 year old man said, “Two koala bears for me.”