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Life in Lockdown

Tori Green Jan Pavelka, Ann Ridley, Abdourahman Sanneh, and participants of 'Art to Go'

Thank you NHS billboard at the side of a road

On 23 March 2020 we collectively experienced a unique pause. Streets emptied, schools closed, businesses shut their doors, traffic disappeared, and for those who could, staying at home was the way to save lives. In a world where you can no longer meet or touch, belief that community could fragment is real, but instead the Covid-19 pandemic gave rise to whispers of action for change. 

Food banks, demands to fund the NHS, further progression of the Black Lives Matter movement, leaflets for aid groups emerged as the pandemic threw a stark light on the inequalities within our communities. Something the pause made difficult to ignore. And it was this stark light on socio-economic inequality that sprung Solent Showcase Gallery into action with Art To Go, an art project devised by artist Joe Ross. We filled pizza boxes with art materials and activities and handed them directly to young people who might not have had easy access to online content via key workers, carers and schools. Over 500 boxes were delivered. The Gallery reached out to other cultural venues to contribute content for the boxes which initiated a sense of solidarity and greater communication about lockdown and how it would affect the city, both culturally and mentally. Participants were asked to create a postcard about their experience of lockdown. Through word of mouth, the project went further afield than Southampton. 

The exhibition also presents four local artists that have each depicted their perspective of Southampton's first lockdown. A selection of photographs from Tori Green's project 'Lockdown Portraits 2020', "On my weekend walks I take my camera and see my people". Another photographer presenting portraiture is Jan Pavelka, from his project '2 Metres Apart', a collection of thousands of photos complied into a book. Poet Abdourahman Sanneh speaks of oppression, heritage and racial justice in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement gaining voices and allies globally during lockdown. And Ann Ridley, continuing to create line drawing of landscapes and local businesses of Southampton capturing the odd context of life in lockdown.

Thank you to everyone who took part in Art To Go.A special thank you to Jennifer Anyan for her support, encouragement and promotion of the Solent Showcase Gallery - she has helped to strengthen the vision of the gallery greatly.

Photo credit: Jan Pavelka from his photography series '2 Metres Apart'.

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