We recently reached out to our volunteers to see what they had been up to since we last saw them. Over lockdown, creativity swept across the nation in all areas, and in all shapes and forms! We were consuming more art, creating more art and engaging in art in ways we never had access to before. We were able to visit exhibitions from the comfort of our own homes and access virtual workshops which did not exist in the world before Covid. One thing that lockdown made us all realise is the power and happiness evoked by creative practice, as well as the sense of community and belonging that art and visual practices can bring in times of loneliness and isolation.
It has been wonderful to see the different ways in which our volunteers have remained creative over the past months. We caught up with visual content maker, Annie Feng, who told us how she kept a photo diary during the lockdown as a way to process and understand the drastic changes we all faced in our lives as a result of the pandemic. While doing this, Annie also turned to new modes of practice that allowed her to step away from the social pressures of the internet and social media, namely making polymer clay earrings, which you can find on Instagram, @moodypomello.
As I’m sure many of us feel the same, the lockdown opened up experiences and opportunities for getting creative which we never had time for before. Much like Annie, another one of our volunteers, Caitlin Macintyre, delved into new areas of visual creativity as a result of the exciting online opportunities which opened up during the lockdowns. Caitlin told us how she was able to participate in online training courses which helped build upon her skills as a filmmaking student interested in 3D Animation and Virtual Reality. As well as this, Caitlin introduced us to one of the projects she has been working on recently, a short film titled ‘Kady Phan.’ Caitlin noted that this work “explores a generational communication disconnect as well as the consequences of oversharing online.” This timely intervention on the impact of social media comes at an important moment in our lives when we all turned to technology as a mode of entertainment. It is refreshing to see young creatives take a step back from the screens and depths of social media and instead turn to creativity as a mode of self-expression.
We also chatted with Tina Ramos Ekongo (@tinaramosekongoart) about how she had remained creative over lockdown. By painting every day, Tina expressed how important it became to her to prioritise her creative practice. Tina is currently working on preparing portrait painting workshops for children, writing art articles and getting involved in panels with different art organisations to help shape a more diverse and integrated cultural scene in Manchester. She has also been researching the British Black Arts Movement and the women involved and is looking at ways to incorporate these women into audiovisual works. By getting involved with calligrapher, Beth Rowbotham (@bettywrites), Tina has also created a series of cards and postcards for International Women’s Day.
As we move to the end of restrictions, should all things go to plan, we can look to the future and get back into art spaces and galleries. Upon our reopening at Castlefield Gallery, we will be showing an exhibition titled ‘No Gaps in the Line,’ which highlights the work of Nicola Ellis’, including her artist placement at Ritherdon & Co Ltd (13th June – 1st August 2021).
Here at Castlefield Gallery, our volunteers make up a vital part of our day to day activity, if you are interested in getting involved or learning more then please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Researched and written by Libby Haddock, Castlefield Gallery Placement with the University of Manchester.