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Living Behind Our Doors

Doors, a metaphor for our times.

Doors close. Doors open. Doors can hold a welcome sign, or they can say “keep out.”

Doors are a powerful symbol in this unprecedented time in our lives and also in our country.  Since March of 2020, COVID-19 has kept many of us closed behind our doors, afraid to venture into the world. We are afraid of the virus, so we have stayed in our homes for months with no end in sight. Living behind the closed doors of our homes may be the new normal for many of us. Fear and anxiety are very real, and we have no idea when it will be safe to go out again.

Yet, the virus is not the only reason for closed doors. 

We white people have closed the doors on people of color.  No, not just closed, but slammed the doors shut since the beginning of our “civilized” world.  Signs have hung on doors saying people of color “not allowed,” “need not apply,” and many other words of hate and segregation.  Even now, the signs are there. They may not hang visibly on the doors, but the unspoken messages remain. Racism remains.  Black Lives Matter is a movement to open the doors, and stop the killing, the violence, and the racism that is much like the virus— insidious and always present. 

LGBTQ+ intolerance remains. In June a divided Supreme Court advanced the cause of LGBTQ+ rights ruling a civil rights law barring sex discrimination in the workplace applies to gay, lesbian and transgender workers. The fact that it was met with division says so much about the ongoing battle in our country for anyone who is not a white straight male. The suicide rates within the LGBTQ+ community are astronomical. 

Doors are powerful metaphors for so much of the pain and suffering going on around us in this time in our lives.

So, I am painting doors. I am painting a series of doors, and I paint them with a purpose: to say that I am aware of the closed doors in our lives and that I am emotionally open to all the things those doors symbolize. 

I recently read a beautiful reference in Brené Brown’s book, The Gifts Of Imperfection: “The Hopi Indians have a saying, ‘To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak.’” This quote really moved me because as an artist, I paint so that my heart can be seen. 

 With my paints and brushes, I am painting doors. My heart hopes that they open. 

If you would like to join me with your own painted or photographed doors, my door is open. I will be posting this series on my website maggiehartart.com and if there is any interest I would happily add yours to the gallery. I’m thinking if there is enough interest I could add some links to donate to organizations for covid relief, racial injustice or LGBTQ+ rights.   If interested, send me an email at maggiehartart@gmail.com and let us see if this goes anywhere. 

As Artists, we can open doors. 

May you have ease of being in all you do today.

Maggie