2020: a challenging and intense year. COVID-19 has the world’s attention. Perhaps the pandemic is an undeclared world war: an obligation for humans to circulate in limited ways and to adapt to new realities. It is surreal.
It is also strange to explain all this to the children that they cannot go to school, cannot visit relatives and friends, and cannot go to playgrounds. They cannot hug and kiss. They cannot do this. They cannot do that.
My inner child lives confused, sad, uncomfortable, and resigned.
I can only remember one time in which I was under forced confinement: in 1992, during the civil war’s clashes in Luanda.
We were confined for a week. I was seven years old.
In the first few days it was fun. The whole family sheltered in the only room of the house with no windows to the street: the toilet. We lived in that space, one of the smallest in the three-room apartment. It seemed like a joke until I realised it was not. The adults were always worried about something.
I remember many things from that time. If there is one thing I do not remember it is someone asking me about my feelings: whether I was at peace or not, if I was scared or not.
In this strange, undeclared war, perhaps we should ask children how they feel.
Indira Mateta is an Angolan visual artist born, raised, and working in Luanda. As an artist, her work explores her personal journey as an individual, a woman, a black African, and also aims to facilitate the same process of discovery in the other.