‘Covid Commissions’ supported collaboration of artists faced with living and working in isolation

The Ryde Arts Covid Commissions explored the possibilities of collaboration between artists at a time when people felt personally and professionally isolated from each other

Threepenny bit in clouds by Julian Winslow

The Covid Commissions, created by Ryde Arts and supported by Arts Council England, have helped to nurture innovative artistic collaborations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ryde Arts, based on the Isle of Wight, provided six artists with a valuable opportunity to develop their art practices during the pandemic. Whilst Covid has affected all sectors of the economy it has hit self-employed individuals working in the cultural sector particularly hard.

The Covid Commissions
In July, following six weeks of national lockdown, Ryde Arts launched the Covid Commissions to help artists work collaboratively and respond creatively to the challenges faced by living and working in isolation.

Covid Cinema by Joe Manners and Bella Jackson

In total six artists across different disciplines worked in pairs on three research and development projects. The results were totally unique and inspiring.

Abi Wheeler, Creative Director of Ryde Arts said,

“We wanted to explore the possibilities of collaboration at a time when people felt personally and professionally isolated from each other. It was important to us to provide open research and development opportunities, giving artists and designers the chance to work without the demands of producing a final piece of work.

“Covid placed a new significance on digital communities and we took this opportunity to broaden our network beyond our geographical locality. As a consequence, we have had the pleasure of working with six inspiring creatives, working in diverse disciplines, from across the UK.”

The Covid Commissions created a strikingly different body of work.

Sue Paraskeva and Julian Winslow
Contemporary Island based artists Sue Parakseva and Julian Winslow (artwork at top of article) created one-off altered ceramics and layered, ethereal photographic images, referencing the emotions and feelings generated by an old threepenny bit.

Broken vessel with threepenny bit by Sue Paraskeva

Joe Manners and Bella Jackson
Whereas Joe Manners and Bella Jackson responded to the project by using visual communication as a tool for political commentary producing a film, Covid Cinema, that captured the trauma, mundanity and introspection central to life in lockdown.

Fern Toynton and Lara Chapman
The last collaboration between Fern Toynton and Lara Chapman features responses to two fire extinguishers that form part of the permanent collection at the Ryde Historic Society.

The resulting work will form an exhibition IN CASE OF FIRE that will go on show in the window of Elizabeth Pack, 29-30 Cross Street, Ryde from 14th December 2020 to 12th January 2021.

Lara Chapman and Fern Toynton

Fern and Lara said,

“The exhibition, IN CASE OF FIRE asks: what happens when a fire extinguisher is the starting point for a creative project?

“32 creatives working in different disciplines made work in response to two fire extinguishers from the Historic Ryde Society’s collection, proving inspiration can come from anywhere and anything”

A much needed creative and playful interlude
Sue Paraskeva said,

“The Covid Commissions provided a much needed creative and playful interlude during lockdown.

“It gave Julian and I a chance to combine our practices and we look forward to continuing to work in this way.”

Visit the Ryde Arts Website to find out more detail about each of the Covid Commissions.

News shared by Tracy on behalf of Ryde Arts. Ed

Monday, 30th November, 2020 6:08pm


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1 Comment on "‘Covid Commissions’ supported collaboration of artists faced with living and working in isolation"

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Thank you for covering this story OTW. It’s great to see our local arts organisation leading the way and really supporting artists during this pandemic. We sometimes forget how much the arts contribute to our lives, giving us inspiration, providing new means of looking at our world and expressing difficult emotions.