Almost a week into her period of official quarantine, the four walls of Gvantsa's hotel room in Tbilisi have become mirrors. Mirrors through which she reflects on her childhood and the current state of the world. Stuck in a place where her name is "room number 930", she hopes the room will feel like a home soon.
142 hours without a hug.
I've been painting all my life. I was still a red-cheeked, selfish, super active child, no taller than our kitchen table when I started. My mom often says how worried she would get when I would ask my parents to sit on the sofa and let me describe my recent drawing. Instead of seeing my talent, she would think how Van Gogh or Modigliani lived and ended their lives. With a pale smile on her face, she would look at my drawing and start whispering to my dad.
'Instead of seeing my talent, she would think about how Van Gogh or Modigliani lived and ended their lives'
When I was seven, not so sure about my age though, I painted a tree. Two trees actually, having different roots but finding a way to get closer to each other and becoming one. When I once again asked my parents to take their seats on the old sofa in our living room, I told them I drew the love, the love between a woman and a man. Hah! Knowing my mom, I should have said something else, something easier. The next day all my pencils, papers and watercolours were gone.
For the next couple of years, my only surface to draw was the last pages of my school notebooks, class-boards or hidden walls of my neighbourhood. I kept on painting and finally got enrolled at the Academy of Arts in Tbilisi, but never saw my mom being honestly happy about that.
'I kept on painting and finally got enrolled at the Academy of Arts in Tbilisi, but never saw my mom being honestly happy about that'
The room number 930 is my current quarantine, the space entirely occupied by me. When I call the reception, asking for water, towel or permission to open the window, they call me room number 930, that's my name for now and the next ten days. Life here is not that boring as many would think, sometimes I even get some sunshine, some early morning bird whistles and mini versions of emotional breakdowns, as any normal human being would have.
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Photo by Gvantsa Chubinidze
Today I called my mother.
I asked if she could send me my pencils, papers and watercolours. She asked me:
- Do you need anything else, maybe canvas boards?
This time the smile on her face was real.
There is the reality happening in the whole world. A staggering reality. There are thousands of people like me, isolated and waiting for something good to happen, something to make their fear disappear. You are waiting as well. We got stuck somewhere in between four walls to keep each other safe and help our countries to deal with the horror. However, if we try to stop seeing those four walls as a threat, our sentence for the next weeks, maybe it can become a home. Home not only for our body but also for our minds and subconscious.
'We got stuck somewhere in between four walls to keep each other safe and help our countries to deal with the horror'
Hotel room number 930 will turn into my studio soon.
“We cannot change situations in life, but we can change our attitude towards them”
blessing by Hindu guru Mātā Amritānandamayī Devī, also known as Amma, the hugging saint.