“I love the pleasure of painting and why shouldn’t I be happy?… the act of making art is happy. It is a liberating gesture.”
During the Covid-19 lockdown I have been exploring making pictures and thinking through painting to produce ‘The Lockdown Series’, a new series of paintings on paper. Beyond the headlines, there have been many positive messages coming out of this time that strive to bring us together in solidarity and spirit. We are experiencing a heightening of connections and isolation, and in this moment of crisis there is a new open-mindedness and receptiveness to talking about mental health. I have been listening out for positive messages, such as ‘we’re all in this together’ and ‘playing all the tunes to keep us going’ and each work I have made has been in direct response to a positive message that I have come across.
In October 2019, I was awarded an Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant to run my second art-making community project. This project was also supported by National Lottery Heritage Funding. Working in partnership with Canterbury Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN) and English Heritage I worked with young unaccompanied refugees and asylum seekers to create a participatory artwork, Trailblazers, which was exhibited at Walmer Castle in February of this year. The project gave participants the opportunity to express their individuality and their creative potential, and feel a sense of community through engaging in a collective experience.