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Lost Spring

Lost Spring. Emily Bates. May 2020.

As a visual artist and analogue photographer I have been based in Amsterdam for over two decades, yet rarely create my work in the city, travelling instead to work in mountains, volcanoes and sub-tropical forests elsewhere in Europe or Asia.

Delving into my archive I began to review my plans under lockdown, travelling across time and location, remembering Spring scenes of the past. My thoughts were particularly with friends surviving in more extreme lockdown scenarios than those imposed within the Netherlands, such as in Italy, and with those who have lost loved ones.

During these surreal weeks, staying mostly homebound, I am thankful for the uplifting sunshine and blossoms that fill my living room window. Companions to my days. The tradition of celebrating the cherry blossoms, hanami, in Asia are magical and poetic reminders of the cycles of life. Face masks are also familiar to me from my many visits to Japan and South Korea, and currently hotly debated in their efficiency to limit the spread of the virus.
Masks to protect, masks to celebrate, masks to remember, masks to mourn.

With all these meandering thoughts, I began daily walks to my local park in De Baarsjes and around Oud West. Veering frequently off the formal pathways, to keep my safe distance, I entered wilder areas and little woods. Slowing my pace and appreciating the beginnings of Spring.

And so began this playful series of face masks created from the local flora of Amsterdam West shot simply on my iPhone. A daily ritual and form of discovery that has been shared on social media with friends around the World, many of whom are in strict confines, or mourning. A daily ritual that I continue…

door Emily Bates


Het huis van Amsterdam met dank aan: Gemeente Amsterdam West Soundtrackcity