Only Suitable For Myself

Juanita Escobar

2017 - Ongoing

(Part of the project are the texts of Sarai Reyes (12 years old), that are the captions with the pictures.)

This Project is a shared diary of two months of quarantine together, in El Llano, where Sarai and I, for different reasons, have lived so much! - Sarai is now 12 years old and I have known her since she was born. This story is the cloud of events that have inhabited her during the months of quarantine in El Llano (open landscape, distant map, maximum extension of oneself).

On May 1st, I arrived at the savannah, where they were staying. Francisca (her mother, my best friend and co-worker) had warned Sarai and me that we could not be too close, no hugs or anything. And that was just the image I had of the encounter with Sarai! Then, the greeting was two steps away, but the next day we were already having coffee from the same pot and that quarantine of not touching each other, keeping our distance or using the mouthpiece vanished, I began to perceive, in the midst of the amplitude of the plains (Llano), the confinement in other ways, or the perception of the pandemic from Sarai's imagination.

These images (experiences, facts, fantasies) emerge with initial burst of emotions, situations which push without judgment or morality, the day to day life parades with its passions, fears, animals, love, the forest, the confinement, the breadth of the landscape, and always the constant illusion of other worlds, without being able to reach them, or reaching them in other ways.

Inspiration also comes from Sarai's thoughts and texts, which imposed themselves on images and metaphors, shaking my way of seeing this time and photographing it. I came to a kind of childhood and remembered many times a text she wrote to me when she was 7 years old, which said, "tell me as I have little childhood and you have much childhood!" This work is that conversation between different childhoods, for me it results in telling stories and seeing without so many barriers, that everything comes out spontaneously and with emotion.

This is the rainy season in the plains, when the mangoes also fall, when the quarantine is in place. With it came reflection, time stretched out, let us feel what is missing, what is not, what is thorny, what is inspiring. Perhaps the confinement (in its multiple ways of perception) travels like a cloud, becoming space, geography, the place of uncertainty. This story is, as I said at the beginning, the transition of that cloud through Sarai's life and that of the children and people close to her. It happens in the Llano (plains of the Orinoco in Colombia) which is the place where all the desires escape and flourish far away.

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  • “We are not locked in, one is not locked in and has this infinity of savannah, but I am still locked in, I feel the air locked in, inhibited, it's not that I feel free. Free from the news every day with its "5000 more cases", inhibited by the fear and despair of everyone saying "I have the flu!" Since when can the little action of coughing become your psychological end?” Sarai

  • “Since my body is locked up, I was jealous of my soul that was walking around, without a mask, without Jennifer Lopez-smelling gel, without any of those limitations that we have. It was flying around in my imagination, in my feelings, in my existential doubts, so I locked my soul in a little glass box, disected it and hung it up in the room.” Sarai

  • Salvador, my 7 years old brother.

  • “Cocaine is a little dog with eight or more little dogs. Puppies that cause her complete misfortune. Doggies that cause her tired look, she observe the world and realize that the only thing she has, even if it causes her misfortune, are those flea-bitten dogs. And it's not that dogs make mom suffer just because she's the mom, nooo!! those dogs were also the cause of our misfortune; I say "our" because every time we went to the meal, some of those dogs, like ticks, would get between our feet and start playing with them, but they were so intense that it seems that they wanted to absorb your soul and displace your gaze, as they did with their mother.” Sarai

  • “HOME SCHOOL, an eternal video conference, now instead of throwing papers to the teacher I throw a virus.” Sarai

  • “A chiriguare (yellow-headed caracara) that entered our room, to the 4 walls, where nobody can stand anyone, neither adults to children, nor children to old people, there is no longer that of " but I tolerate you ". Fortunately we got him out and he went away from the confinement and from us.” Sarai

  • “My heart goes in an ambulance!
    When you are in the middle of solitude love is going to throw you a red rope, you're gonna start climbing it
    and when you think you're going to get out the red rope breaks and drops you.” Sarai

  • "Too locked up to work."Sarai

  • “In the photo something important is missing from the dog's costume: the master (owner), who is a child of my age and with the attitude of being the winner of the pet festival contest at my school. This is the only photo that was not taken during the quarantine, it is a memory of when you could do all kinds of crazy things without limit, like this one, a dog dressed as Up, the movie.” Sarai

  • “Tolerance got Coronavirus, it got weak, it got down, intolerance doesn't discriminate against anyone.” Sarai

  • “To be forgotten, like a simple feather blown away by the wind, a shadow, a removed message …” Sarai

  • "My presence is already like your absence, it is, but far away. I have not managed to find it in the small infinity of this apartment. I think it stuck to the whitish color of the walls." Sarai

  • "I really think I've become used to this confinement. My soul has become comfortable with loneliness. When I think that one day everything will be "normal" again, and that we will all be embraced like "lizards (Sabandijas)", I feel that it won't be the same anymore, I feel that a small rope is trying to pull me into an emptiness, into loneliness, into talking to those inner voices, those fears, I feel that a part of me will remain locked up". Sarai

  • "A pet piglet, called Confetti, collects mangoes from the yard and bears in the ground all day, at night he looks for the warmth of his blankets that we put in the kitchen. This is a meek pig, one of those that are raised in the patios, one we had before, called Pestañina (eyelash) was wild, those who wander in the savannahs, obviously escaped, a week later was released from his rope.These tame little piggies don't need rope or anything." Sarai

  • “That little creature you see there, the chocolate skin, (because the other one is me) is a bacterium, no joke, he's my brother, even though it's practically the same thing. Although we have been living together for 7 years, I have not been able to find a similarity between him and me, although perhaps we are so similar that we repel each other. I was with him all through the quarantine, and I can say that we never managed to find anything in common, except for that filthy sow that attacked us. All day long we were fighting, I really didn't feel guilty, it was his fault, it was too much... Oh I don't know, but one time we were playing volleyball and he had a giant chocolate and I grabbed it and bit him and he started crying!

  • “I’m so bored, I count my blinks, I count all the little grains of salt.” Sarai

  • “Love is the Land of the imagination.” Sarai