Is Covid 19 the plague of the 21st century?
In the 14th century the Black Death, also known as The Plague, swept across medieval Europe – transported from country to country by trading ships unwittingly carrying infected fleas and rats.
As it spread from town to town, people tried to escape the overpopulated cities by fleeing to the countryside.
This was a strange and horrible sight – as John Kelly wrote in ‘The Great Mortality’:
A helmsman with a neck bubo is strapped to the helm; a ship’s carpenter with a bloody cough, to his bench. A rigger shaking with fever is lashed to the mast. Gradually each escaping vessel becomes a menagerie of grotesques.
The plague doctors with their beaked masks and glass eyes must also have been a fearful sight.
My Plague sculptures are a reminder of the horrors of that period and mirror the fear and uncertainty we are feeling today in the face of this new coronavirus and its consequences.