Exhibition of work made during the pandemic raises funds for vulnerable women

PUBLISHED: 10:42 05 November 2020 | UPDATED: 10:42 05 November 2020

Family Portrait with Fish by Marie-Therese Ross  proceeds donated to Camden Town charity Women + Health

Family Portrait with Fish by Marie-Therese Ross proceeds donated to Camden Town charity Women + Health


Around 50 female artists from North London have donated work reflecting on the pandemic to a fundraising exhibition for Camden Town Charity Women + Health

Eel Creek by Robyn Litchfield  proceeds donated to Camden Town charity Women + HealthEel Creek by Robyn Litchfield proceeds donated to Camden Town charity Women + Health

An idyllic creek, a cluttered kitchen table, and a family dinner wearing masks feature in an all female charity exhibition of work made during the pandemic.

The exhibition of nearly 50 artists’ work was due to show at Kentish Town’s Zabludowicz Collection this month, to raise vital funds for Women + Health.

Now the Women’s Lockdown Art exhibition will go online in aid of the Camden Town based charity, which for more than 30 years has offered alternative medicine therapies and counselling to vulnerable women, including survivors of domestic violence and rape.

The virtual art sale runs November 11 until December 25 and Women + Health director Gemma Tighe said: “I’m thrilled so many women artists have donated work to support our organisation, which like many small charities has been hit hard by financial challenges brought about by COVID-19.”

Ishbel Myerscough Thirteen proceeds donated to Camden Town charity Women + HealthIshbel Myerscough Thirteen proceeds donated to Camden Town charity Women + Health

Artists aged 20 to 92 reflected what lockdown had meant to them. Zabludowicz Collection director Elizabeth Neilson said: “The range of responses is a wonderful testament to the creativity and flexibility of women in times of hardship.”

Robyn Litchfield, who lives off Upper Street, Islington, submitted two paintings including Eel Creek which explores notions of place and a search for a utopian land. She began to think of the crisis as “a time to think in the present, not plan for an unknowable future. We were like monks suspended in our existence with a chance to ponder ourselves and our lives.”

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Another Islington artist, Ishbel Myerscough depicts the kitchen where she spent much of lockdown. Thirteen - the aftermath of a teenage birthday party - is characteristically highly detailed and meticulously observed.

During lockdown she says: “I felt the need to balance the boat. So, as my life consisted of domestic duties, I drew the interior of my house from top to bottom and in between. Other than that I couldn’t work. These drawings were a meditation, a mapping of our captivity and a portrait of my family in objects.”

Submitting her painting of a nightclub, Islington-based Ruth Batham says: “As it became more apparent Lockdown was not temporary, my concerns moved from couples and touch between two people, to crowds. Painting has no sound, but I hope you can hear the chatter. Images of crowds seem so charged at the moment when we can no longer gather in groups.”

Kayley Holderness found the quiet of her usually busy studio in Islington Arts Factory “gave me an opportunity to focus and breathe. In these calm hours, a new series of coiled work came to life.”

And East Finchley based Marie-Therese Rose, submitted a family dinner with masks. During lockdown her practice moved from her studio to the kitchen table but was cleared away for family meals. Her works on paper “reflect the experience of isolation and confinement”.

“During Lockdown, stories of nature taking back control made a big impression on me. In parks, people felt threatened by flocks of birds resembling large dark clouds. These are a metaphor in my work, drawing upon myth, biography and narrative to examine the strengths and frailties of the human condition.”

A virtual exhibition launch on November 11 at 7pm features psychotherapist Susie Orbach, art historian Frances Borzello and Elizabeth Neilson.

Watch and bid for works here www.womenandhealth.org.uk/wla-exhibition/

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