Buckwheat on the canvas

Photographer: Nata Abashidze-Romanovskaya


Isolation. Quarantine. Virus. Pandemic. Those are the only words we seem to hear these days. 
Staying isolated, all of us, we try to stay sane and keep busy. As a photographer, I am an observer in any situation. Being at home 24 hours a day, seven days a week allowed me to witness all the daily habits I usually miss: what we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner; how addicted we are to our gadgets. 

The hysteria prompted by the international spread of the coronavirus and quarantine drove everyone to the supermarkets, so they could buy the food and household goods they’d need during the lockdown. What do we usually buy when we’re scared? All necessary and unnecessary things. 

We usually buy more than we actually use. So I decided to focus on the objects we actually use everyday, to understand what is really essential. 
In my family, we have largely bought groceries since most of the food we eat has to be made at home, although we have also ordered out. My family also bought household goods, cleaning products. 
Some very basic goods became vital to our daily routine, like the soap we use to wash our hands multiple times a day.
I studied what people around the world were buying to prepare for the pandemic; which everyday items were disappearing from the shelves. The objects driving purchasing frenzies were toilet paper, sanitizers, pasta, and porridges, like buckwheat. The government was supplying families in need with similarly basic things: peas, rice, oats, potatoes, eggs, sugar and milk. 

The transformation of simple things into vitaly important objects reminded me of classical still life paintings, like those made famous by  Flemish artists, who used specific light to highlight everyday things so they looked bolder, with almost ethereal outlines. Those paintings were largely made as part of artists’ training as they learned to capture light and textures. But today they are masterpieces, exhibited at the best museums in the world. This project also highlights those basic products and goods, which have taken on the place of masterpieces in our lives during the quarantine. 

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