The body of work I am presenting is a series of 25 artworks created while complying the 14-day Quarantine for overseas arrivals. This was a requirement by the NSW government for all travellers arriving from overseas. My partner and I were stranded for 15 months in the Philippines due to a lockdown and the cancellation of overseas flights.
We arrived on the 14th of May 2021; on that day we were processed and after 8 hours we were sent to a health quarantine facility not far from the airport. We were facing a AUD4,000 quarantine cost. No visitors were allowed. Meals were supplied twice a day and health providers would check on us 4 times a day. Health providers would knock on the door, and we would mask up before opening to have a health check. When meals were delivered, again, there was a knock on the door. Our food was left at the door, and we would open to collect. We weren’t allowed to have contact with those delivering the food, nor were we allowed to step outside our door.
Quarantine Reflection or *[Pagmumuni sa Panahon ng kuwarantenas/Pahiwalay], Tagalog translation, is a reaction of my state of mind/emotion while in quarantine. I drew everyday using art materials ie oil pastel, pastel colored pencil and repurposed the paper bag carrying our food deliveries. Every day I looked forward to my paper bag of brown in color with markings 933 indicating our room number and 2x the number of occupants. The question “I wonder how much trash are collected from hotel quarantine food deliveries”? This is what inspired me to repurpose those paper bags. I was able to create an artwork that I fondly called “trash to canvas”. I am proud of this body of work, a lived experience by an artist in quarantine during Covid19 Pandemic. Quarantine Reflection repurposing trash to canvas is a testimony of trash to art to treasure. Each of the 25 pieces are a statement of various issues from both the past and the then present.
Artwork and videos by Ningjada (Cheryl Quejada Canning)
I spoke to Cheryl Quejada about her most recent project, ‘Quarantine Reflection’. The work was commissioned by Headquarters, a disabled-led digital space committed to centring and celebrating the work of disabled creatives and the diversity of their life experiences.