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2021 Art Pandemic Tuisku "Snow" Curtis-Kolu

Sunset in the Hills

Art and Text by Tuisku “Snow” Curtis-Kolu

I watched the sun paint the hills, every moment in its descent brought forward new strokes of colour, new crooks and shapes. The air was fresh with candour and the slight wind accentuated the silence. Shadows provided new hiding spots in the absence of trees. The calm of sunset obstructs your mind from the cold night. 

(oil pastels on paper, fall – Scotland 2020)

Nature Series 2: Sunset in the Hills (Scotland, Autumn)

Artist, Master of Law, Familiar Stranger. Snow believes couches are the beds of the busy and the ground is a welcoming cushion. She sometimes struggles to explain what she’s seeing or thinking, so she creates. Snow has a love for oil painting, but flirts with a wide variety of mediums. 

“I connect through colour – I helps me feel present. I hope it helps you to feel something unexpected.”

2021 Art Pandemic Pandemic Staff Contributors Tuisku "Snow" Curtis-Kolu

The Bottom of the Hills

Art and Text by Tuisku “Snow” Curtis-Kolu

I’ve been trying to connect with nature, its stillness. Everything moves like thunder, while every day I sit at home. Nature moves with the same slow pace, sometimes quickening but always constant. 

The tops of hills and mountains usually get all the artistic glory. I find the greatest beauty is sometimes hidden in between those tops, in the valleys at the bottom of the hills. In autumn the colour, the life, asks you to keep looking, go higher.

(Oil, 25×25)

Nature Series 1: The Bottom of the Hills (Scotland, Autumn)

Artist, Master of Law, Familiar Stranger. Snow believes couches are the beds of the busy and the ground is a welcoming cushion. She sometimes struggles to explain what she’s seeing or thinking, so she creates. Snow has a love for oil painting, but flirts with a wide variety of mediums. 

“I connect through colour – it helps me feel present. I hope it helps you to feel something unexpected.”

2021 Contributing Writers Pandemic Poetry

Heat, transferring

Written by Tamiko Dooley

She peeks in the window.

He’s busy; surrounded by colourful bricks.
Inside it’s warm, and the fire keeps out the
Cold January frost.

He spots her and beams –
And rushes to the pane.
He knows by now he can’t dash to the door.

Two hands meet on the glass –
Hers: shrivelled, wrinkly and well-worn
The hand that fed, clothed and bathed me;
His: chubby and pen-stained, still
Alternately clinging to my legs and pounding the floor in frustration.

For a moment the world stops,
And these two souls, two sides of me
Collide. Gently.
She tells him silently
How much she misses him,
And he does the same.

The icy glass begins to warm under their palms
Until it’s time for her to leave,
To stay safe,

To stay apart.

Long after she’s gone,
The handprint remains there,
As warm and comforting as the promise of Spring
And brighter times to come.


Tamiko is a half-Japanese mother of two, born and brought up in England. She speaks several languages. When there’s no pandemic, she’s hired as a wedding pianist from time to time.

2020 Comic Contributing Creators Pandemic

Project Moonshot

Text and Art by Dave Miller

This is a comic looking at the wild promises from politicians and the sheer incompetence in managing the virus, as the second wave rushes towards us.


Dave Miller’s artistic interests lie in telling political stories which engage with current issues, and forces affecting our lives. See more of his work at DaveMiller.org.

See the comic in the upcoming book PANDEMIC; WHERE ARE WE STILL GOING WRONG published by Bite-Sized Books.

2020 Contributing Writers Pandemic Poetry

Dancing Around Corners: Poems written during a pandemic

Written by Anne Pia

My Mother’s Rosary

my nightmares play on repeat
sequence follows sequence
colour-bled animations
stain these fresh walls
a silent wilderness freezes on white geometry.
I leak secrets in sweat
am grateful for steady breath,
sound landmarks towards north…journeying still,
and in my palm finally
I clench a greening crucifix, mould and metal;
yellowed beads drop one by one through frail fingers,
each and every one defiant at
this craving to catch my mother’s smell.

Another siren splits clagging air.
Another missile.


Love Letters in Lockdown

In the last days of a world we thought was solid
massing of dark cloud, warrior winds summoning strength,
Corona settled, we cowered, made ourselves invisible,
and in the void
there was only the nearness of our own breath
of reality collapsed to window frames
the stillness of trees, as we all waited.

Somewhere along the rim of consciousness
there was the thought of ending,
the day I would delete you my old friend, from my phone
you no longer walking those sands I promised to visit,
or those wild flowered fields down by the river,
or like the well-loved notes of a much played tune,
finding myself speaking your words, spoken in a distant memory,
singing your song, as I speed along a motorway.

Then through the small, careful steps of day after day,
of small discoveries,
of dancing with strangers around corners,
the unaccustomed smile of a neighbour
that brought tears,
opening a front door wide to the unknown,
dismantling a home delivery,
like a forgotten war bomb,
on small screens, you became larger,
in unfamiliar alphabets
we evolved a new language;
and we learned to walk new leylines
learned a new geography of human,
of friendship and worth.

We laid foundations afresh.


Lessons in Coffee

my prosaic kitchen is the set stage of a Glass opera
replacing green-tiled, brutal style coffee shops
entombed now in plywood , drawbridge well shut
its lean anatomy is rearranged;
crumbs of love in coffee beans,
shallow breathing from a sleek Moka machine,
and out of sober, white bags,
sought after treasures from a Portobello bakery,
small miracles…
the slow rise of sweet scones,
dimpled dough basking in spring sunshine,
fattening on my windowsill,
earth scents of confettied rosemary,
whirlpools of olive oil,
rich crackle of crusting in an ample oven.

Amid the starkness of masks somewhere on the outside
beyond the trees and unused road,
with yeast, godlike particles,
I plough fresh tracks in flour,
pour out warmth in water.
I live a new innocence.


Notes

Don’t ask me for words
words won’t suffice,
can’t speak for me…
give no comfort
ask too much.
Wordless
I wrap myself in a blanket
working strings and bow…
seeking only small solutions.

In the late morning from sturdy sound structures,
I drift to the unknown …
in Higdon and Auerbach…
massaging grief
in the mythic fantasies of a Hebridean fiddle.

My rough-laid shelf,
is made of splinters..smoked salmon in a Tesco bag,
a first latte after lockdown, Wednesday tunes, zoom with friends,
or by a lake cooking sausages together, amidst Bay-leaved willows,
a neat stove, three laughing swimmers and the chatter of rain,
soft needles on a crater of glass.

My cold computer screen
contains me,
reminds me I cannot reach my daughters’ warmth,
I review photographs of that other time,
the wood strains against the force, fails,
no match for tears
or the fucking rage.


Game Over

Bring back the masquerades and the make-up
I am a self I do not recognise
where have I gone?


Anne Pia is based in Edinburgh, and is a language graduate with a Doctorate in Education. Her interests include language, dialogue, and identity.

Her memoir Language of My Choosing was  shortlisted for the Saltire First Book of the Year 2017 and won the Premio Flaiano Linguistica 2018.

Transitory, her first poetry collection, was published in April, 2018.

Anne’s writing has appeared in Northwards Now, Poetry Scotland, New Voices Press, Southbank Poetry London, The Blue Nib.