Sasha’s First Collage #MadCovidDiaries Diary, 1.4.2020

Pale Horse, Pale Rider

In early 2019 I read Pale Rider, Laura Spinney’s brilliant book about the 1918 influenza pandemic and its aftermath and I’ve been talking about it a lot with my eldest son since we knew covid-19 was coming. I was struck by the impact the virus had on people in their teens and twenties who were disproportionately affected. From there,  I got the idea of portraying death as a young woman, rather than the usual grim reaper or skeleton.  A lot of my work includes horses and ponies (and even zebras!) as I love them, so I added a ‘pale horse’ to complete the piece.  


What strange times we’re living through. Last week felt like those slow, unreal days between Christmas and Hogmanay. Binge eating, binge watching, but with added continuous doomscrolling on social media.  Thank goodness for #februllageextended and the challenge to produce a collage a week for the duration of the crisis. Prompt number 1 was #Smile and it was a relief to lose myself in creating something frivolous and beautiful out of random bits of ephemera. Deep breaths. Count to ten. Keep going.

How do you like your blue-eyed boy, Mr Death

Since the virus hit, I can’t get ‘Buffalo Bill’s’ by E E Cummings out of my head. It’s a poem about life and death entwined, and that’s what I’ve tried to portray in this image. Representing ‘Mr Death’ is a wee boy I’ve included in other collages as I like him so much! I’d guess his photograph must have been taken around 1900 but a tiny memory of him is kept alive every time someone sees his portrait.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. We ask that you seek our permission before you use any of our material – this includes researchers who want to harvest our data for analysis!

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