Updated: May 29
Art plays a really important part in the way that we tell history - it helps us emotionally connect with the past. That's why we've launched our postcard art project, to capture our community's feelings of this unsettling time for posterity.
Postcard Art Project Lock-down 2020
Since we joined many other countries across the world in lock-down, to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, we've seen an outpouring of creativity. Schools and businesses closed across the country and the stillness brought a quiet time which has made many of us reflect on the sacrifices our front-line workers are making and the way in which we approach our lives. Our homes have become mini galleries - our front windows lighting up dark times with colour and messages of hope.
As a creator and art ambassador myself, this phenomenon was no surprise. Humans have been 'doing art' since the stone age - from painting bison on cave walls, to showing the journey of ascension in the tombs of ancient Egyptians, to adorning ourselves with cultural symbols of status, to tagging ourselves in graffiti. Art is an essential part of self exploration and communication.
I recently read a fascinating book called The Map of Knowledge by Violet Moller. It captures the innate curiosity of humankind across the world and through time, and the need to make sense of the world, record and share this knowledge. Although the author focuses on maths and science, this sharing of ideas (and perhaps more so of emotion) is something we also see in humankind's artistic heritage. Colour alone has played an enormous part in how we have expressed ourselves over time and across the globe. Kassia St. Clair's chromatic guide, The Secret Lives of Colour, explores the sometimes funny and sometimes deadly history of the creation and use of colour. Artists often favour colours to express their mood - for example, Picasso favoured the melancholic hues of Prussian blue during his blue period which followed the death of a friend. And if we take a quick look back at our current lock-down window art, colour in the form of rainbows up and down the country, symbolises a brighter future.
The therapeutic powers of art are also well documented. In some enlightened parts of the country, arts and creative therapies are available on the NHS as part of a mental health service (mental health charity Mind has a good guide to accessing such services). Art can help us to increase self-awareness and give us insights into our emotions. This process can help reduce tension and anxiety and provide a process for coping and perhaps even healing.
During lock-down, one of art therapies greatest exponents, Grayson Perry (English contemporary artist, writer and broadcaster) launched his Art Club on television in which he explores themes of lock-down and talks to other artists, celebrities and viewers who are asked to submit their own artwork to create an exhibition that will provide a visual record of this historic time. Inspired by this and spurred on by the comfort of our own creative responses, both myself and my friend Andrea Greenaway (Button Lane Arts & Crafts) decided we should join Grayson in his mission to unleash our community's creativity and give you a chance to express your time in lock-down. To make the project as accessible as possible, we chose the simple post card to capture your art. Our very own local postcard art collection will be kept in the town for future generations to learn from.
It's easy to take part.
Pick up a preprinted template from Emerson & West's Market Harborough and Husbands Bosworth stores or print out the template below and stick it to an old cardboard box such as a cereal packet
Get creative and express your feelings of lock-down with any medium you want
Pop your artwork in the post or drop it back to The Paint Pottle on St. Mary's Road
We're looking for all ages and abilities to take part. The deadline for submissions is 30 July 2020. We'll make an online gallery of all the postcards and when it's safe to, we'll hold a real life exhibition.
We look forward to seeing your postcard soon!