Life in lockdown art exhibition goes live in Chichester

Artists from all over the UK are coming together online to express and record their personal experiences of life in lockdown – and to raise vital funds to support grieving children and young people.

Friday, 12th June 2020, 4:01 pm
Updated Friday, 12th June 2020, 4:22 pm
Candida Stevens

The project, entitled Isolated OBSERVATIONS, is the initiative of gallery owner and curator Candida Stevens, from the Chichester-based Candida Stevens Gallery.

After becoming “increasingly aware of how many artists – with no deadlines, and all exhibitions/art fairs cancelled – were feeling overwhelmingly destabilised during lockdown”, Candida wanted to be able to offer artists a means of focus and stability, she says – particularly to those who live alone or who are vulnerable or assigned to barracks.

At the same time, she began thinking about the invisible victims of this time: “There will be many. But amongst the particularly vulnerable will be bereaved children.”

“An idea was born: an invitation for artists to unlock and create, and to do what artists do best to share their thoughts and experiences; to capture their own personal response to this unique time.”

The project, now in development, involves 16 artists from Brighton to Glasgow, who will each submit four pieces of work in four weeks to the gallery. The works will be curated into an exhibition entitled Isolated OBSERVATIONS and will run from June 5 to July 4, with profits from the sale of the works going to the childhood bereavement charity, Winston’s Wish.

“Themes are beginning to emerge, empty spaces and yearning. Views from windows and observations of neighbours. The minutiae of domesticity. The optimism of nature. Also the coming together of community – the making of facemasks and clapping hands. It is in this spirit of the coming together of community that the idea was born. I wanted to do something that would help us to all pull together; something that would provide a creative focus for artists right now and also raise money to support those whose suffering will continue long after lockdown is lifted.

“Children who have already lost a sibling or a parent are particularly anxious at this time –fearing they might lose another. Winston’s Wish is a charity doing essential work to support these children all over the UK. But with charity income slashed, they urgently need funds to carry out their important work.”

The Duchess of Richmond, President of Winston’s Wish, praised the initiative: “Candida Stevens has been typically proactive in supporting both her artists and bereaved children through this wonderful proposal.

“The feelings of isolation and abandonment are all too familiar for children who have experienced the death of a parent and we, at Winston’s Wish, are very grateful for this support so that we may continue to do our best to help the children who need us.”

The complete Isolated OBSERVATIONS exhibition will go live online on Friday, June 5 at http://candida.stevens.com and by appointment in the gallery from Monday, June 8. 100 per cent of gallery profits will be donated to Winston’s Wish.

If you are supporting a grieving child, and would like professional advice and guidance, you can call the Freephone National Helpline on 08088 020 021 and speak to one of its trained practitioners. For further information, visit the website http://winstonswish.org where you can access a wealth of free resources and information.

The charity has also created a designated coronavirus information hub on its website, with advice on how to support grieving children during this time: winstonswish.org/coronavirus

The artists taking part include Sara Berman, Pippa Blake, Fred Coppin, Freya Douglas-Morris, Tinsel Edwards, Stephen Farthing, Nicola Green, Anne Kelly, Alice Kettle, Irene Lees, Rob Lyon, Calum McClure, Grace O’Connor, Anne Rothenstein, Giorgia Siriaco and Anthony Stevens.

Sarah Egerton, from Winston’s Wish, said: “The death of a loved one is the most fundamental loss a child will ever face. Bereavement can have a lasting effect on the child’s emotional well-being and lead to a variety of short and long-term problems. The right support at the right time can enable bereaved young people to live with their grief and build positive futures.

“Winston’s Wish understands the impact of bereavement at a young age and has developed a wide range of practical support and guidance for bereaved children, their families and the professionals supporting them.

“Its range of support services currently include: freephone national helpline, online chat, crisis messenger service, email support, individual and family work via telephone or digital delivery, specialist publications and resources, and training for professionals.

“Each year, Winston’s Wish reaches thousands of bereaved children and young people through its services, helping to ensure that grief does not destroy their futures.

“Winston’s Wish was the first charity to establish childhood bereavement support services in the UK and has been at the forefront of support for bereaved children since 1992.

It offers specialist support programmes for children bereaved through homicide or in connection to the emergency services or the military community.

“The charity relies entirely on voluntary donations. It needs to raise a minimum of £2.5 million each year so it can continue to help as many grieving children as possible.”