Pour ne rien manquer de l'actualité culturelle, abonnez-vous à notre newsletter
Confessions of a schizophrenic Zena/Also Zena in times of Corona
In these unique moments of global confinement, Agenda Culturel goes to meet artists and cultural actors to listen to their feelings in times of Corona.
Zena Assi, painter
Your social media or website link : www.zenaassi.com
Do you think this crisis will lead to a change? And if so, how?
Zena: I think we should try to use the lockdown as a chance for reflection.
This crisis has shaken our normality, it has ‘shrunk’ humans to their normal size and I hope that we will be more respectful of nature and the environment, and more thankful and supportive of the medical workers in the aftermaths of it all.
Also Zena: This crisis won’t lead to any change at all. Humankind is selfish and forgetful. History will repeat itself over and over again. How can we still have wars after what we’ve experienced in WWI & WWII? How can we still consume and pollute after we’ve proven what climate change can cause to the planet… no lesson will be learnt except maybe stock more on toilet paper and appreciate the times when people around you weren’t all specialized in virology.
What is your daily routine in confinement?
Zena: I am lucky to have a garden, and woods next to my studio in London. So, I am more [with nature, and spending more time in my studio working on a new series of portraits entitled ‘Still nature’. It is inspired by the crisis we are going through and how everything has been put on hold, playing on the notion of humans behaving like objects.
I am rediscovering traditional Lebanese recipes, going vegetarian, listening to Yo-Yo Ma, and of course doing my Body Balance exercises every morning.
Also Zena: I wake up in a panic as soon as I realize that this is actually happening and not a nightmare or a bad Hollywood end of the world movie. I spend my day trying not to move and live inside my fridge. I panic and spray everything with pure alcohol (concentration around 70%) while fighting the urge to fully spray the delivery guy on my doorstep. I end my day on the sofa, trying to avoid all insta posts with a spiritual quote on a sunset background, drinking all the wine reserve and eating chips till I fall asleep and live the same day over and over and over again… and again…
From the simple pleasures of an active life, what do you miss the most?
Zena: I miss having coffee with my parents, a good meal with close friends. I miss walking on the beaches of Batroun and going to shows at the Royal Academy in London.
Also Zena: I miss the fact that friends and family didn’t use to call that often. I miss the days where not everyone was on Duolingo or believed to be a yogi/guru/life-coach/pianist/decorated Michelin star chef/leg-day-Personal Trainer/tree-hugger and searching for their inner balance. I miss frozen ready-made meals instead of living in the kitchen (Louise Bourgeois dismantled her kitchen and transformed it into a workshop). I miss the traffic jam, the peak hour in the tube and even the waitress who always gets my order wrong and never brings the sauce on the side! I miss when we use to be enriched by others, instead of just enriching our narcissism. I miss when my eldest, Myriam, was staying in uni, and not insisting on pasta made from scratch… while I do the cleaning after. I miss when friends didn’t try to convince me that I look good with my quarantine-moustache.
What don't you miss?
Zena: I don’t miss the race against the clock and the deadlines. I don’t miss the endless emails and my to-do lists.
Also Zena: I don’t miss Easter nor the poor pink and blue colored chicks (poussins) being sold to greedy children. I don’t miss strangers kissing me on the cheeks when a distant hello can suffice. I don’t miss the pictures posted on insta of others taking weekly trendy trips to gorgeous islands or skiing in Courchevel while I’m stuck indoors between my children and my bank account.
To avoid boredom, what do you suggest to our readers:
Zena: ‘A room of one’s own’ by Virginia Woolf, ‘Sapiens’ by Harari and ‘Against nature’ by Huysmans
Also Zena: ‘Asterix chez les Bretons’ by Uderzo and Goscinny
Zena: The collection of Isabelle Huppert movies on Curzon Home Cinema & ‘Philosophy’ and documentaries on Arte
Also Zena: Binge watching the ‘Seinfeld’ series. (Again).
APP TO DOWNLOAD:
Zena: Podbean for ‘the Great Women Artists’ podcasts, Audible for audio books and Asana rebel for Body and Mind balance
Also Zena: Accuweather
PODCAST OR YOUTUBE TO FOLLOW:
Zena: TalkArt, Somerset House Studio and Barbican Classical Music as Podcasts
Also Zena: Tom & Jerry free episodes on YouTube
Zena: Eric Sati, Yann Tiersen
Also Zena: Tom Waits
Zena: Vegan Cauliflower steak:
1 whole cauliflower, trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Prep:10min › Cook:35min › Ready in:45min
Preheat oven to 220 C / Gas 7. Line a baking tray with foil.
Place the cauliflower on a cutting board with the stem side facing upwards; cut vertically into 4 steaks approximately even in thickness. Arrange 'steaks' onto the prepared tray. Drizzle olive oil over the 'steaks'; season with garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
Roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes, turn with a spatula and continue to roast until soft in the middle and darkening around the edges, about 15 minutes more.
ANY OTHER SUGGESTION?
Zena & Also Zena: Fleabag. Not to be missed
A word of encouragement
Zena: We are facing death every day at close range, and yet so many medical and essential workers are putting their lives on the front line. It is inspiring to see Lebanese people reaching out for each other while no governmental support is being offered. During such dark period, this is truly a valuable hopeful thing. Everything will be fine in the end, the sun will keep on rising after all.
Also Zena: Winter is coming.
PHOTO CREDIT : GILBERT HAGE