Creativity in the course of Covid

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For Katrina Moss, who launched the Chaiya Art Awards in 2018 to find out how contemporary artists represent the divine, the global coronavirus crisis was an additional challenge. The 2020 Prize, which invited artists, works on the topic “God is. . . ”Had to be postponed to 2021.

Instead, artists were shortlisted to respond to the impact of the pandemic "around the world, on families, society, health care, and belief". Selected works have been selected to form an online exhibition entitled "Impact".

Ms. Moss described the emotions she believed many artists felt at the beginning of the ban: "If you are a key worker or someone who is very involved in the public response to Covid-19, play your part. But as an artist offer (you) the opportunity to express yourself – whether positive, negative, confused, frustrated – and other people will do the same. "

Although a declaration of faith is not required, it believes that it receives work from "people who have faith, are from different faiths, have no faith at all, are not interested". The Chaiya projects and the arts in a broader sense offer a "positive environment and a platform to discuss faith and spirituality because they are so threatening to people".

The artists who submit works to Chaiya may have a belief, but choose not to explicitly examine it in their work. "Artists often want the work to speak for itself instead of saying to people," That's how I want you to see it, "explains Moss." You get people who really want to share their understanding; others, people want to give people the opportunity to discover something, and artists who explore. ”

She notes that growing interest in the online church suggests that people are using the uncertainty of the pandemic to seek meaning again and "look at faith in a different way," and hopes that people will Those who visit the Impact exhibition online, see things they see feel moved and challenged by. "Art bypasses logic and goes straight to your emotional heart reaction," she says. "And I've learned over the years that asking questions is better than telling people."

The pandemic also offers a potentially surprising source of hope, Ms. Moss believes. “Times in life that have been stressful or confusing often coincide with the release of creativity. It seems to be published in times of national and personal difficulties. God can access our attention. "

The Impact exhibition can be visited online until September. The postponed Chaiya Art Awards 2020 will take place in April 2021 at gallery @ oxo in London.

ELISABETH RUTT lives in rural Suffolk and creates work from sewn textiles.

I was very moved by the news of the devastating and overwhelming effects of Covid-19 on the lungs and breathing. This quickly led me to think about the breath of God, the breath of the world and its peoples and the dichotomy between the tiny virus and its enormous impact on our planet.

I started thinking about satellite photos of the Earth alongside Petri dish images from Covid-19 and the infographics that we now see in all media. I felt guilty breath in, breath out (Main picture), which took me completely for a few weeks; Making such an awful world event something aesthetically pleasing seemed a bit wrong, but when I sewed it helped me think through many of the problems we all had to deal with.

TERESA CHLAPOWSKI is a former knitting designer who today creates works of art out of glass.

When the pandemic happened, time stopped. On the one hand, I was at peace: the future was beyond my control and I just had to let go. I am a practicing Catholic, but since the Mass goes online and cannot go to church, it has affected my need for the church as an institution. However, I personally still believe that the teachings of Christ and the concept of our soul are more relevant than ever.

Chaos contained by Teresa Chlapowski

Much of my work has always been to find a way to express my need to understand our soul, the hidden part of us – maybe even the God bit us, maybe where we are going to this world. I definitely feel that life is more than the physical world we live in.

The idea of Contained chaos was to create a circle that somehow contained my feelings. But then the world suddenly changed and the work got its own direction and purpose. I love blue and turquoise, but the feeling of chaos around me had to be disturbing. So I added the red.

As much as I plan a job, glass ends up doing its own thing. It's like a partnership and always surprises me. I hope the future owner will see something positive in it through his own experience. See something new and different and let it “live” for them – mutate into what they want to express for them.

Art is something out of this world; it gives both the viewer and the artist an insight into something much more precious. It comes from within. In these uncertain times, art can help us focus on more important things: beauty, pain that could heal, memories that we had forgotten. Art makes us complete.

DEBORAH HARRISON is a sculptor based in Gloucester who specializes in stonework.

I spend a lot of time carving my answers and then expressing them. I have seen positive and negative effects of the pandemic. On a positive note, parents and children are able to enjoy each other's company. play in the park, laugh together and share picnics.

I lost a few older friends and it made me sad that they died in bed without friends. Carving all day without seeing a soul requires a certain amount of resilience and belief in God and yourself to survive. I had to look for new resources in my soul.

Touch by Deborah Harrison

I would wear a cross to remember that Jesus was a tecton, which translates correctly as a craftsman or craftsman: especially a carpenter, stonemason, builder or engineer. Jesus would most likely have used many of the same tools as I do today, which brought me closer to him.

The inspiration for Touch was in the stone. In these strange times, we all miss the touch; hug a friend when we greet him in our house or when he needs comfort. Our relationship with God is like that. When we cry out in need, he is there to bring us the touch of his spirit, to bring comfort and peace. As the Desert Fathers said: "God is not elsewhere", God is with us – Emmanuel.

The whole world has been brought to a point where we have to stop and think about where to go in the future: whether we really want to strip the earth again, are consumer-driven, and are slaves to capitalism. It is time for art to tell the truth of power.

The Reverend Matthew Askey is a school chaplain at Worksop College in north Nottinghamshire. Father Askey was initially trained in fine arts and has been practicing both as an artist and as an art educator for 25 years. He was previously a pastor at Southwell Minster.

Hug by Matthew Askey

The pandemic was a time to think, but it was also stressful. My usual prayer pattern was much harder and drier, so instead I went to the studio more often and prayed by doing art. Painting and drawing are an integral part of my daily prayer life. It is a close relationship where one informs the other.

During this pandemic, I was reminded of how vulnerable we are both as a society and as a civilization. We cling to certain things to comfort ourselves (often the wrong ones) and we run the risk of popping them all. hug is a portrait of the state of our civilization. I hope its future owner feels peace when he looks at it.

In uncertain times, art can complacently challenge us to reassess, and it can nurture the soul and spirit. It can also act as a common prayer. It is vital. I think the arts will continue to challenge and inspire us to face our values ​​and behaviors.

CRAIG JEFFERSON is a Scottish artist from Northern Ireland.

The pandemic meant less hustle and bustle; more time to talk, develop relationships and much time to talk about the fence with the neighbors. Our overall family experience has been positive, although I find it difficult to say given the tragedy that has occurred around us.

Family portrait was inspired by a collective experience. I didn't get through this time alone, but with my family. In a good way, we were forced together.

Family portrait by Craig Jefferson

My art is deeply rooted in my belief. I create because I am made in the image of a creator. I create because he created first. Without this knowledge, I would have no feeling of confirmation or freedom in what I do.

For me, every picture is a meditation. It is an answer to what I see and experience as a person. I understand reality very much like a psalm or proverb. This reality includes my relationship with the greatness of God and his creation, but also brokenness, sin and pain.

Art is known as a great therapy and can bring people together in communities. I really hope that there are means and support to ensure that the arts thrive in the post-pandemic life. After a long period of isolation and an emotional roller coaster ride, we all need something to lift our spirits and understand the new world we live in.

Read our review of Susie Hamilton's exhibition "C-19" here

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