Masks. Nothing else quite symbolises the last year so well as these small shields that help us manage the risks we face in just carrying on with our daily lives in spite of the virus. They offer safety but they also divide us. This has been a year of taking and managing risks.
In the Autumn of 2020 we first met in the studios, masked and socially distant, it was hard to imagine how we would function as a group while having to keep barriers up between us. As the pandemic worsened the distance grew from a few meters to a few thousand miles. But through it all we took different risks. Over video calls we started to share our stories, our opinions and ideas, putting our work on screen for the consideration of our peers; each time a risk, but such risks were rewarded as we found support and common ground and those peers became friends.
As the lockdowns drove us all back to work from home, it was necessary to find new ways of working without the benefit of the studio space. Exploring new mediums in bedrooms and backrooms and under-stair nooks repurposed into workspace for the interim. Finally, the world is opening-up again and we are taking a new risk; planning an exhibition to put the products of this unprecedented year up for the consideration of the public, but that’s a part of what art is, art takes risks and that’s part of how it inspires.
Gillian Steele: MA Creative Enterprise (Art)
University of Reading
PO Box 217