Freedom is like a chest
Freedom is a concept that has eluded definition for ages. As a child, I crafted my own vision of freedom, envision-ing it as an emotion of ultimate autonomy and limitless possibilities, unshackled by any constraints. In my mind's eye, I conjured metaphors of the wind and creatures with wings—symbols of unrestrained movement in every direction, a state of detachment from all that bound me.
My research on freedom was set to take me to New York City in April 2020. I had plans to participate in an artist-in-residence program, eager to delve into the shifting definition of the elusive concept of freedom and unravel how society perceives and experiences it. Yet, fate had different plans; the coronavirus emerged, swiftly derailing my plans. I found myself anchored to the familiar—my country, my city, and my home—stranded in the confines of my immediate surroundings. The freedom I had once taken for granted, the ability to board a train or a bus and explore distant horizons, was now a distant memory.
As I grappled with this abrupt change, I was compelled to rediscover freedom within arm's reach and scrutinize my immediate environment. I focused my lens on the people closest to me: capturing moments within the confines of my studio, my house, or the living spaces of my friends and family. I documented scenes from short walks along the well-trodden paths of familiar places. Freedom, once an elusive wisp of unpredictability, now appeared as a steadfast companion in the repetitiveness of daily life. I remained in the same locales with the same people, yet, even in this seemingly unchanging landscape, freedom revealed itself in the subtlest of ways.
Through this introspective journey, I came to understand that freedom wasn't solely about escaping the familiar but about finding fresh perspectives within it. It was the art of discovering new intricacies in the everyday, of redefining the boundaries of existence.
My personal quest to understand the changing definition of freedom had merged seamlessly with my own evolution of this concept. The metaphorical chest of freedom, pulsating with the rhythmic rise and fall of breaths, now represented not just the external world but my internal world as well.
This transformation was a revelation—a testament to the malleability of our perceptions. It showed me that the quest to understand the changing definition of freedom was not limited to observing society but was a profoundly personal journey as well. My own experience had become a vital part of the narrative, a mirror reflecting the evolving nature of freedom itself.