These collages were created by a mother and one-year-old child during periods of isolation and immobility provoked by the pandemic. They began by gathering the only materials we could find around the house during lockdowns—public-health flyers, crayons, food wrappers, old magazines, calendars—and embrace the imperfections and messiness of this media. They are about (not) making do under challenging circumstances, lamenting lost family members, solitude, grief, confusion, care, love, reuse and tiny sparks of imagination. Assembled from the rubble of domestic confinement, these images encourage engagement with repurposed everyday objects and the intimate lifeworlds of sorrow and hope.
Staying home is undeniably an immense privilege—one that is differentially afforded and experienced according a variety of socio-spatial inequalities. The politics and practice of confinement can thus become a liminal space of reflection on issues ranging from devalued labours and vaccine nationalism to the foreclosure and sanitization of play.
These images invite reflections that extend beyond pandemic parenting to also consider issues of environmental justice and children’s rights to the city as an integral part of new mobility discussions. How can we better acknowledge the pandemic’s ongoing power asymmetries and work towards meaningful forms of repair as we attempt to reimagine healthier and more liveable futures?