“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 lockdowns I have been exploring making pictures and thinking through painting to produce ‘The Lockdown Series’. Beyond the headlines, there have been many positive messages that strive to bring us together in solidarity and spirit. We are experiencing both 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. This recent shift in my practice has opened the door for an outward facing approach to painting that explores possibilities for being both personal in its expression, and firmly rooted in the world and responsive to our experiences of it.
I have been awarded Arts Council England funding for a brand new research and development project. This grant is funding research into a new participatory artmaking project working with Roma women living in Kent, and six months professional development focusing on painting with the support of a Turps Correspondence Course mentor.
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. 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. 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.