Sask. woman finds her art again amid isolation of COVID-19 pandemic

·2 min read

Linda Duvall thought her art had ended. Her artist's practice had always involved collaboration and travel and people, and when COVID-19 hit, Duvall felt lost.

She started walking around her land, a nearly 32.5-hectare plot just south of Saskatoon.

"I just started walking the very first day, and I'd always walked a lot wherever I was but I had not spent a lot of time on the land. Some parts of it I'd never been on," she said. "It was about five months later that it was like you know what, I think this is my art. This is it."

She started taking pictures of what she saw and is now sharing that experience through photos sent out as postcards.

She said the more she walked, the more she noticed. On the open parts of her land, Duvall said she used to look over the prairie to the horizon. As she walked, she looked closer and closer at the details of the land.

"There is so much diversity on this land that I had no idea [about]," she said.

Duvall said she is very aware that she is sharing the land with other inhabitants: Cattle, deer, bugs, goats — and recently, an endangered American badger.

Submitted by Linda Duvall
Submitted by Linda Duvall

The badger has moved around on the land a bit and even came by the house to "visit," Duvall said.

"I think part of me being here is trying to understand and respect what the different animals are doing," she said. "I am very aware of first of all, not picking anything. Sort of caring for [the land]."

There are examples of interconnection everywhere, Duvall said, in nature and in life.

Submitted by Linda Duvall
Submitted by Linda Duvall

"I had found a way, through this project, to connect with people that form some part of my history, people that matter to me and that have mattered to me over the years in some way," she said.

It was also, in a way, a form of grief. Duvall said she realized it was possible because of COVID-19 that she might never see some of these people again.

"As my world changed, eventually I realized how much that mattered to me that these people had contributed to my life in some way and I wanted to somehow reach out to them."

The response so far has been great. Duvall said she wakes up almost every day to new notes from people near and far.

Submitted by Linda Duvall
Submitted by Linda Duvall