Copenhagen: Unexpected meditations

Unable to travel for the public-realm art that is her daily work, Jacoba Niepoort has been finding strange solace in simple projects: one toilet roll a day, cold water, breathing... Beautiful things can take unexpected forms.


Well, to be honest… since quarantine started, and for the first time in years, I haven’t felt at all creative. Like this period so far is rehab with antabuse for workaholism, I’ve needed some time to process, take it in, and refocus amidst the changes. So with respect to creative flow I’ve been giving drawing and sketching for upcoming projects a break (‘upcoming’ physical projects being a joke, because like for so many others who work mostly abroad, everything is on hold for… some time)...


To stay sane and keep my hands moving, I’ve resulted to painting a few rolls of toilet paper on my wall at a time 🙂 Originally I thought it would be a one-day project, but with productivity/focus down by around  7000% atm, here we are still, a few weeks later! 

Give us this day our daily toilet roll. Photo by Jacoba Niepoort


Painting something quite ugly in shape and level of cliché has actually been therapeutic beyond expectation — I’ve been doing a few rolls when I’ve needed a break from other tasks— and filled that break with audiobooks or moments of silence, taking in this weirdness, reflecting on our strange societal behaviors and personal reactions to being stuck and in crisis. Once finished, I just painted the wall white again — also a relief.


All we know is that nothing is constant, everything changes, all the time. For anyone struggling with constructive things to add to their quarantine schedules these days — two things that I’ve personally really appreciated are Wim Hof’s breathing techniques (combined with cold showers or swims) and Sam Harris’s guided meditations and podcasts (check out Waking Up App). Being in Copenhagen, where we are allowed to go outside, any kind of moment in ‘nature’ these days has also been intuitively restorative. As has the thought that for once, even if affected in different ways, we are ALL simultaneously touched by this. Alone, but really quite together. My heart goes out to those in difficult spots and my gratitude to those working to keep things moving. I am sure we will grow, and that many good things will also come from this.


This story was shared by Jacoba Niepoort, a painter and mural-maker, usually working internationally, and based in Copenhagen.


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