A Year Like No Other, a Holiday Letter
An Artist and Activist Remembers
By: Erica H. Adams - Dec 18, 2020
A year like no other, let me wish you a warm home, enough to eat, company however virtual and safety from this deadly virus with the good fortune to come through this plague sometime in 2021 or 2022. Thank you for connecting globally on ZOOM, FaceBook + Messenger video calls.
2020 February 26, I gave introductory talk Wampanoag Land/Quaker Refuge for Wampanoags Speak a panel that I organized at West Falmouth Library for the History + Heritage Series: 3 Wampanoag speakers included Quaker-Wampanoag Gail Melix on Quakers and Wampanoags, Ramona Peters on Wampanoag spirituality and historian Joan Tavares Avant on Wampanoag food. The tribe provided a Wampanoag tasting banquet for an overflow crowd. Mashpee is Wampanoag town.
Link to Wampanoags Speak video: https://youtu.be/Y27N3hdDosM
March 7th, I returned from Boston to begin quarantine, alerted to the severity of the pandemic by Harvard and MIT’s decision to hold classes on-line after Spring Break. Silent ZOOM Quaker meetings began the next Sunday and will continue well into 2021. I became an information gatherer, read updates, replaced US news for BBC and began a series of abstract watercolors (9 x 20 inches) originally based on music that try to make sense of the year and are posted on INSTAGRAM that cuts-off either end.
Link to Instagram:
Relief came for contract workers like myself from Pelosi’s CARES then, ZOOM symposia, concerts, chats.
End of May, my brother Jeff and Ali, were working in their new Minneapolis home of two months, when riots erupted after George Floyd was murdered in their neighborhood’s commercial center, later burned to the ground. That weekend, they fled their home while the National Guard protected their neighborhood with tanks and put residents in lock-down, to prevent destruction by those later arrested and identified as out-of-state agitators and white supremacists. This watercolor was my response.
Walking to the Beloved ©2020 June, Erica H. Adams, Watercolor and Ink on Paper: 9 x 20 inches.
Spring a new Chiapas Photography Project publication X CHUMYTAL by Refugia Guzmán Pérez arrived that documents the author’s Maya family history and is in Spanish and English; Lore Loftfield DeBower reviewed it.
Summer on Cape Cod has much to recommend it but, this year was impacted by Covid with the early arrival of 2nd home-owners and tourists from everywhere; many moved here permanently. My patio-garden was my refuge when not in my studio or on ZOOM for everything else.
July, I was interviewed on ZOOM for a documentary by photographer Jerry Russo about how the pandemic affected artist’s everyday lives, their art and process: to date, 130 artists worldwide have been interviewed and a prize-winning editor will shape this documentary to be presented to the National Archive in D.C.
August, still digesting the pandemic, quarantine and its effects and the root causes of nationwide riots begun in my brother’s neighborhood, I organized my thoughts by giving a talk Peace in Times of Conflict: Quarantine, Riots and Monuments at the annual Quaker Institute for the Future (QIF) a national, week-long ‘think tank’. On ZOOM this year resulted in international attendance from across the U.S., from Montreal, Belize, a colleague from Chiapas, Mexico and some sick in bed.
Link to QIF talk:
October -December, I made illustrations + photographs for A Story of a Traveling Saucer by Itsuko Nakamura. We collaborated via ZOOM Kyoto to Cape Cod. The story in Japanese and English is about Kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending pottery with silver or gold and, about a particular tea saucer: in 1904, a saucer traveled from Liverpool to Boston with my maternal great-grandmother Forrest and her daughter Elizabeth (4), was passed down to my mother, then me. In 2001, Itsuko helped pack my china closet for my move to Cape Cod; I gave her this saucer. In 2007, Itsuko returned to Japan. January 2020, her Christmas gift arrived with this now 115 years-old Wedgewood tea saucer that she’d mended via Kintsugi. A link will be emailed.
December, I accepted an invitation to write a column for 21st Century Glass Secessionism from Tim Tate, head of Washington Glass School (MD), readers from 48 countries will read and respond via FaceBook:
Link to 21st Century Glass: https://www.facebook.com/groups/glasssecessionism/
My first column 1/2021 is on NY-based Japanese sculptor Yasue Maetake and will include a Japanese translation by Itsuko Nakamura.
Life goes on, however odd, may we all be here to talk about it this time, next year.