Mixed Blessings and Hidden Gifts

By June Shapter | December 31, 2020

It’s New Year, a traditional time for review and reassessment for many of us, and I for one am considering the ways in which this new year needs to be remodelled, not so much seeking a return to normal, more about establishing a new normal in light of the emotional impact of the past year.


June Shapter, In the Scheme of Things, monoprint collage/mixed media on paper

Life’s become compacted, shrunken down, altogether smaller, but for me there’s been a surprising lack of resistance, no anger or feelings of impotence, just a gentle acceptance that has freed me to focus not on what has been denied me, but on the gifts of time and permission to go as deeply as I choose into what has been left intact. For me, that’s been a daily art practice. What a mixed blessing–I’ve never experienced such a long period of being housebound, yet, I have shamelessly used it to mine such a rich seam of creativity that I’ve grown as an artist in a way I never could before.

I’ve begun a deeper exploration of themes of closeness, distance, connection, presence, absence, of longing and dreaming about being truly, uninhibitedly together with those we love once again. These personal and common truths play out in my collages as life becomes art. Making something out of nothing has always been my super power; there’s a skill in joining together unremarkable fragments of paper and transforming them into something cohesive, meaningful and beautiful. I hope we will all find what we need to piece together the fragments of our newly realized hopes and dreams to create lives that are more grounded, more relevant and infinitely more honest.

Picasso said, “Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth,” and this has rung true all through this strange time, with its lack of options and so few distractions. I think most of us have come to know what’s really important and that has totally rearranged our priorities. I’ve grown to understand that my biggest isolation challenge has been managing the impact of separation and the resulting disconnection from others, especially my family. We’re naturally huggy people, and you simply can’t satisfy that need over the internet. Here’s to a Happy New Year which, in the not too distant future, I hope becomes a Happy Hugging Fest. Cheers!


June Shapter, This Rising Moment, monoprint collage/mixed media on acid free card, 50cm x 70cm 2020


Copyright © 2020 June Shapter


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