Christopher Banahan: An Artists Lockdown Diary
Friday 1 – Friday 29 April
Closed Friday 15 & Monday 18 April
Time: 10am – 5pm (Monday – Friday)
Flax Gallery: Theatre at The Mill
Free Exhibition: No booking required
The artwork in the exhibition are based on the Visual COVID-Lockdown Diary of artist Christopher Banahan, made during the 2020/21 lockdowns as a response to being a recipient of the Art Council’s COVID crises Artists Response Award.
The exhibition addresses themes of loneliness with the effects of social isolation during the lockdowns, particularly for the elderly in rural communities. The exhibition also expresses the beauty of rural settings and being fortunate enough to be surrounded by such ‘imprisoned splendour’ particularly with the fine weather of the first lockdown.
Christopher Banahan Lockdown Diary
The experience of working in isolation comes naturally and productively for most artists but when the isolation is imposed by the government, it is a different experience altogether. As imposed confinement and the loss of freedom can a constraint on the natural creative process. Therefore, during the social isolation of the pandemic I tried to address issues of confinement, loneliness, loss of liberty and losing one’s grip on reality as we all began to live in a ‘virtual online World’.
The 2 kilometre walking restriction in the early phase of the pandemic at least allowed me to reach my local beach and sketch figures in isolation whose loneliness was more intensified by the backdrop of the empty wide open beach, which hardly had any footprints on. I remember following a set of one footprints and imagined the excitement Robinson Crusoe must have felt as he came across another person’s after being alone for so long.
I wanted to also reflect the fear elderly people and people in general felt when they queued outside. Supermarkets. Like most people, I had pandemic nightmares about the uncertainty of the times we are living in. I tried to express this idea of uncertainty in a series of isolated elderly people pushing shopping trolleys in remote exposed rural locations to exaggerate the insecurity and vulnerability of their experiences.
Later when elderly people were allowed out I tried to capture them alone, contemplating the expanse of the open sea as a metaphor for the’ fragility of life
I hope these Covid diary artworks, even though personal have a universal appeal expressing and reflecting the uncertainty and yet unique period we all went through collectively and individually.