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Águeda Sanfiz: The Other Pandemic

We all have a COVID story. Regardless of whether we ever personally caught the virus, we can all point to a specific event in the past few years that says, “THAT is when things changed forever for me.” Loss has been a theme since 2020: of people we loved, jobs that were no longer deemed essential, inability to travel, loss of motivation, mental health, the oft-spoken-of learning loss in our schools. There were gains, too, some of them sweet, such as additional time with family (though at times, this was a loss as well), new hobbies, a new outlook on life and what it means to live a meaningful one.

Águeda Sanfiz has one such story, and she uses her camera to thoughtfully and gently convey it to us in her exhibition “The Other Pandemic.” The story of the devastating loss of her sister at the beginning of 2020 serves a dual purpose: to stand as a historic record of what life was like for many during this unprecedented time, and to bring awareness to the often-taboo subject of death by suicide. Heavy subjects, certainly, and Sanfiz handles the aftermath with a keen, unflinching eye. Yet each frame is imbued with love and tenderness, drawing us, the viewers, into her story of how to celebrate a life even while mourning its loss during epic times, even separated by continents and oceans. As she reminds us in her artist statement: “You felt alone, but you were not alone.”

The Morean would like to thank Ms. Sanfiz for her courage, and for allowing us to know her sister through these powerful images. Ana Sanfiz Sancho is a name you won’t forget anytime soon.