The Trials and Tribulations of 2020


The Quarantine - original acrylic painting on canvas 16 x20 inch

by Paulina Ponsford


This has been so far the most challenging and defining year for humanity of the 21st Century. In January, we heard the terrifying news of Covid-19, an unknown virus that had already killed 26 people in Wuhan. At that time, we could not have imagined the impact that this virus would have on the planet, on the history of this century, on humanity.


Within a few short weeks, the virus spread like a medieval pandemic causing fear across the globe. Millions of people contracted the virus, and many of them have died. The global pandemic has not only brought sickness and death; it has also brought fear, uncertainty, disbelief, separation, and poverty. In a matter of months, the world has been transformed.


To mitigate the contagion and reduce the death toll, authorities implemented strict lockdowns worldwide; the world shut down in quarantine. This shut down has also caused an economic and social shut down, with implications that we are not even beginning to comprehend.


There is always light in the midst of darkness; even in 2020, that has been an unprecedented and gloomy year for humanity. The shutdown has brought positive environmental changes — much needed for this planet in a pitiful pollution and degradation state.


All sorts of industries, transportation networks, and most businesses have been forced to shut down; this has brought a sudden drop in carbon emissions and pollution, a decline in levels not seen in decades. The waters are clean and clear in the Venice canals, the skies are blue, and animals are free to explore without fear, roaming in city streets and waters all over the world.


Nations have all come together as one in the battle against this faceless and silent enemy. Health workers have been pushed beyond their limits to save lives; scientists responded as one body to decode the virus, to create a vaccine: thousands of people volunteer to take the experimental vaccine risking their own lives. Even if we are physically distanced from family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers, we have come together to protect each other. We now cover our faces in public with an uncomfortable mask to protect others.


For me, 2020 has brought much uncertainty, confusion, and sadness. All my family and loved ones are safe, thanks to God's grace. I am blessed to have rediscovered painting; it's my art, source of creation, and therapy. In May of this year, I painted The Quarantine, a portrait of a timeless girl that I feel reflects the uncertainty experienced by thousands of people throughout time in similar unprecedented circumstances. With strange floaties in the background, that could mean her own thoughts or maybe the virus lingering around.


Someone said to me, "2020 is like it never happened", but it did happen! It was like a deafening silence, so intense and profound, impossible not to notice.


I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a New Year full of hope and new beginnings!