After yet another week in which one could be forgiven for wanting to cover one's ears and curl up in a corner with a favourite book, two artists gave us a merciful reprieve on Saturday.
Christo opened The Floating Piers in Italy, allowing Monte Isola's 2000 residents and an estimated half-million visitors to walk across Lake Iseo and onto the mainland. While walking on water does have some obvious connotations, Christo reminds us that any interpretation of his piece, which was decades in the making, is valid. (He likens ambling down the three-kilometre stretch of saffron fabric to "walking on the back of a whale.") The combination of the sheer physicality of navigating a 16-metre-wide floating runway covered in ruched fabric and the bright yellow-orange-red shine that varies according to the humidity and light is, at the very least, a much-needed, wondrous distraction from sadness and fear... as long it doesn't rain too hard.
CJ Hendry's latest piece offers no chance for escapism, but it does offer hope. A 3000 square foot version of her very first colour sketch was flown over New York City, Chicago and Orlando with the hashtag #endgunviolence. The image is a bloodstained T-shirt twisted into the form of a gun. Hendry lives in the U.S. but is from Australia, a country that drastically curbed gun violence after enacting strict regulations. “It is my hope that this could be a reality for the country I now call home,” she told The Guardian.
Walk on water and look to the skies for a moment, but when you get back to solid ground and return your gaze to the horizon, there's work to be done.