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Kristi Bridgeman

Newborn and Child

Artist Statement

Newborn and Child mask acknowledges our children’s experience during this frightening time. Please note* This is an art installation piece only, not meant for a child to wear.
As an artist who works from home, my day to day routine during the pandemic has not changed dramatically. Of course the news is inescapable and fear is certainly present. I don a mask, limit my grocery visits and have cancelled shows and engagements. But despite the seriousness of the pandemic, I am still able to create and spend my days in the same environment.

For many children during the early part of the pandemic though, life has taken a surreal shift. Left behind are the daily customs of walking to school, the corner store, playing with friends, birthday parties, swimming lessons and travel to see family. A childs experience has been schoolwork at the kitchen table, yellow tape around the playgrounds, faces in masks and measuring distances between each other. Living close to my grandson as caregiver and teacher, I have lived this experience alongside him. While home is a safe haven from frightening things, there is no denying that there has been sacrifice and anxiety. We do this for our elders and those who can’t fight off the virus. Certainly the children of Covid will have lost an innocence.

In the next few weeks our family await the arrival of a new baby. I had looked forward to attending this birth, as I have others in the family. During COVID, hospitals limit visitors per patient, so despite experience as birth coach and a strong desire to be there with my daughter, I will step aside so that the father can be there. I sympathize with how awful it must be for those millions of people who are unable to be with their loved ones.
The fabric of this piece has been given an antique over dye to simulate a mask worn during the 1918 Spanish Influenza. The tiny newborn face mask, cupped in the mother’s hand- convey our contemporary experience with children during pandemic. The piece includes pastel medicine wheel colours and yellow mouse tracks, for the children.

Kristi Bridgeman Newborn and Child
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