A notice went out the other day about setting up a volunteer group to help the vulnerable in Harold’s Cross during the Covid-19 outbreak and, on that same day, seventy people put their names forward to help. Now that’s what I call music! And as I write, the number has passed 110. And ten of them on our road!
Basically it suggested mobilising a group to help out over the next weeks and months to do the shopping, to put out bins, to collect prescriptions etc – following a Community Response Plan that emerged from Dublin 8.
And I gather that this is happening all over the place.
Now, this is an art blog but I thought that stories about people helping each other does us all some good. So today, I was reminded of Concerning the Other, the collaborative art project that I was involved in, back in 2017. (All the images on this post are from that project)
Back then, the mounting racism, the growth of intolerance… we thought that artists could take a lead in promoting diversity and showing concern for minorities and for refugees from areas of conflict.
So Olivier Cornet, Claire Halpin and meself gathered together a group of artists to collaborate on a project to produce 100 virtual artworks. 10 arty types working together on 10 pieces of art – we knew that it could be tricky – but that was the point, actually.
It started as a virtual project, all the artists sending their artworks to each other via email, but in the end we printed out a selection of the works to display in the real world (!) The image above was a Stage 10. You can still see some bits of the original image by James Hanley (the statue of a horseman) and below you can see this artwork at Stage 5.
The artists taking part were: Brian Fay, Claire Halpin, James Hanley RHA, Joanna Kidney, Eoin Mac Lochlainn, Miriam McConnon, Kate Murphy, Ben Readman, Gail Ritchie and Susanne Wawra. It was really interesting to read what they wrote about their reactions and their input to the project.
Crowd funding was an important element of the project and the generosity of people was really heartening to see. You can read more here about that Fundit project. The prints were first exhibited at the Olivier Cornet Gallery in September 2017 and then toured to various venues North and South.
I wonder if it’s time for another version of this project, or maybe something similar? The artist and teacher Nicholas Wilton asks: What does this time make possible? What could we do at this (strange) time, that was never possible before? What kind of changes could we make? I’d love to hear your thoughts. (there’s plenty of space for your comments down below.)