Things To Do Whilst Social-distancing: A Guide by Na Chainkua Reindorf
A Note from Team BASE: These are unprecedented times and as we all try to adapt and adjust our lives in this strange new world, isolating ourselves from friends and family it is important now more than ever for us to stay connected.
Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing a series of weekly to-do lists, curated by some of our friends, industry insiders and community. They will be sharing their recommendations of things to read, listen to and watch to help keep your minds occupied, your bodies healthy and your souls energised. Whether you’re practising social-distancing or having to self-isolate we hope these recommendations will offer little nuggets of cultural escapism and spark a little joy.
This weeks cultural guide is by talented artist Na Chainkua Reindorf aka Chainky. Chainky is from Ghana and is currently living in upstate NY. Her work is an exploration of and an ode to the rich cultural history of West African textiles. A mixed media artist Chainky’s work focuses on the values African society and culture assigns to these textiles. “My art practice involves picking apart these value systems that are considered to be part and parcel of our traditions and culture, putting a spin on them and then releasing it back into the world in a new form”. She shares with us the things that are getting her through the lockdown.
WHAT music are you currently listening to?
Goldlink and Santi. I recently discovered them because my cousin, who has a knack for recommending songs that I really love, suggested I check these two artists out a couple of months ago. I have been listening to their songs on repeat since then. They both turn out very catchy and funky beats that always put me in a good mood.
What PODCASTS are you listening to?
I have been listening and re-listening to a lot of audiobooks recently. However, my absolute favourite podcast of all time would have to be Radiolab. I have always been someone who was more interested in how and why the world around us works the way it does. Radiolab have always been excellent at telling stories about seemingly insignificant and innocuous topics that are way more significant than we could anticipate within the world of science, politics and law.
What are you currently READING?
At this moment in time, I am oscillating between academic texts for research purposes related to my art practice and murder mystery audiobooks. By my bedside, I am reading Fashioning the Frame; Boundaries, Dress and Body by Alexandra Warwick and Dani Cavallaro, which explores what dress means in relation to the body, in terms of creating an identity that separates the self from others. During the day while I am working on art, I listen to murder mysteries, which I have a penchant for. I am very taken with the idea of catching the bad guy, and even more so with the way authors play with expectations that leave the reader guessing till the last page. When it is an especially good book, I become completely engrossed and transported and this allows me to breeze through some of the most difficult and tedious parts of my art making practice without blinking an eye. I am currently listening to Knife by Jo Nesbo. Frankly anything by Jo Nesbo, I would wholeheartedly recommend. He is such a good writer. I have all his books and have enjoyed reading and rereading them thoroughly.
WHAT are you watching?
Weirdly enough (or not), I also enjoy watching murder mysteries. Years ago, on Sunday evenings, I used to watch this show on Hallmark with my mother called Midsomer Murders which focused on murders happening in this small British town. It sounds dark, but it was pretty humorous with moments of levity. It was something I looked forward to all week, and I think that was what got me into my obsession with this genre. Over the years, I have watched the entire 20 seasons of Midsomer Murders multiple times and never seem to tire of it because it is like comfort television to me. At the moment I am watching Vera, also a British murder mystery, but a little more serious in tone. I enjoy the idea of watching the detectives work through a challenge of finding the killer and pick apart actions to find motive.
HOW are you looking after yourself mentally and emotionally during the lockdown?
I speak to my parents and sister and best friends every day. I have a lot of WhatsApp group chats each consisting of 4-5 high school, college friends and family members so it is very easy to check in on everyone at once, to make sure everyone feels supported during this time. I try to avoid obsessively checking the news, because my mood tends to deteriorate afterwards. If I do check the news, I do it in moderation or somedays not at all, just so I don’t feel anxious, as I am a highly sensitive person.
How are you staying FIT during the lockdown?
I downloaded the Nike Training Club app over 5 years ago after a suggestion from my best friend who was an athlete. It is probably the most comprehensive and user-friendly fitness app I have ever encountered, and best of all it is free. There are hundreds of workout sessions each with visual and voice guides, and many of which can be done within the comfort of your home without equipment. I have been using it pretty consistently over the years, and it has helped me stay healthy and fit.
What are your favourite meals or SNACKS that are getting you through each day?
Oooh I love snacking so much. I have my trusted jar of Nutella which I eat with crackers or put in a banana smoothie when I’m feeling decadent. I also have made a lot of homemade granola with oats, nuts and honey, which I like to eat with Greek yoghurt as a dessert, or for breakfast. During this pandemic, I have returned to eating more beans, nuts and grains and so I tend to search for popular recipes that people have reviewed through Google’s search bar. I also follow @lailacooks on Instagram who is a bit of a food maverick and who I consider to be a food artist, if that makes sense. She has many simple delicious recipes on her Instagram page and is very innovative when it comes to being resourceful meal-wise when your pantry/fridge has limited ingredients.
WHAT are your sources of inspiration?
I am an artist, so a lot of my day is filled with absorbing media like images, videos, and text. I find that Instagram is a treasure trove of all these different ideas from creative individuals all over the world. I pretty regularly save posts that I find interesting. I actually regularly browse through the images in my saved folder and then I attempt to categorize them into different folders by identifying the common thread through the images. It is extremely fun for me because I love to organize things a lot, preferably by color or theme, and this exercise is very instructive for me because it helps me see quite instantly the kinds of things I like and am drawn to. This in turn helps me with my own work because I can study what inspires me and find ways to apply these concepts to my own practice.
What are your home luxuries that are making you HAPPY?
I really enjoy sleeping in, because I generally have problems with insomnia. Going to bed earlier than normal, or just being in bed, while reading or watching a movie or show is something I thoroughly enjoy. It feels sort of safe, and comfortable at the same time, where I have total control over my environment and can go straight to bed if I so choose.
Do you have any recommendations on how to spend the WEEKEND during social-distancing?
I honestly think a good fiction book (or three) does wonders for taking my mind off heavy thoughts. Especially in these times of uncertainty, being able to switch off the thinking/worrying anxious brain to focus on a fictional world in a book, or even a good show has been great for my sanity.
Do you have any other TIPS that get you through the week?
Journaling is a good idea. I think it would be prudent to take time to just write down your own take on what is going on around the world, because we are living in such unprecedented times that it really would be something to be able to look back 5-10 years from now and read about your very own experience during this time.