“Where the waters do agree, it is quite wonderful the relief they give.” Jane Austen

“And Breathe …..”

We have been lucky to see so many stunning water features, lakes and seas both here and abroad. I have been thinking of many of them during this lockdown, particularly those in Central and South America – some carry wonderful myths.

As a child, I devoured myths from all around the world. Myths are “fictitious stories or half-truths, especially ones that form part of the ideology of a society”. There are many myths in which we can see the vital role that water had in people’s lives. Since ancient times, people aimed to be close to Gods and this affected their lives at a high level; that’s why they honoured water and the Gods that were related to it.

While I was painting this imagined coastal scene, I began to think of my children’s love of water. My three year old granddaughter’s post lockdown wish is to be able to return to the swimming pool.

There are outlandish theories that Black people can’t swim due to their supposed inability to float. Some blame it on laziness or Black women being too afraid of getting their hair wet.

Before swimming became the symbol of relaxation and tranquillity it is today, municipal swimming pools also served as a reminder in the USA of its fraught racial history. For decades during the 20th century, many pools were segregated, and relatively few were built to serve Black communities. Lower socioeconomic status has also played a significant role in the lack of swimming abilities throughout the Black community.

So swimming never became a part of African- American recreational culture and somehow that myth has stuck in European societies.