It’s widely acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the most impactful and unprecedented life events of our time.
While people responded in different ways, some artists have concentrated their thoughts and feelings into their artwork.
The Taupō Museum and Art Gallery has invited seven artists from around New Zealand to participate in its newest exhibition Covid-19 – An Artist’s Response which showcases artworks influenced by the pandemic.
The artworks include stories of a place and time, statement pieces created to help others, personal therapeutic works, to promote or influence support or simply just created as a form of relaxation and escape, says curator Kerence Stephen of Taupō Museum.
“I have great respect for artists who create as an outlet for their thoughts and feelings. These artworks are art history in the making, recording visual commentary of what is happening in New Zealand and the world around them in these unprecedented times.”
Acclaimed artist Michel Tuffery’s ‘Handle With Care’ Series was developed as a concept to encourage everyone to stay safe, keep steady and act responsibly to protect our communities.
Jason Kelly’s satirical works are influenced by the mandates and freedom of choice movement.
John Boyd-Dunlop and his wife Nanette travelled to Melbourne in 2021 to visit family but it would be eight and a half months before they were able to return to New Zealand after lockdowns and MIQ lotteries extended their stay.
Rotorua Artist Lani Eyles’ work is mostly inspired by the environment and its preservation. Lani was a children’s art tutor prior to the introduction of vaccine mandates for teachers.
Zachary Hawkins has created characters called masked artists that are based on the idea that we all hide behind a curated mask for our public and social media image presentation. Due to Covid-19 we have recently all been required to wear a mask that has saved lives, but that also creates a more physical social barrier between us.
Jessica Newman’s art and poetry has been used in a children's book called The Journey Story focusing on mental wellness education and using creativity as a tool to consolidate learning.
Local Taupo artist, Leon Wilkie instigated this exhibition when he enquired whether the museum would consider showing artworks that reflected the impact of New Zealand’s response to the Covid 19 pandemic. Leon likes to pick up a pencil and start drawing as it helps make sense of the world around him. His Christian faith has pulled him out of mental health issues and addiction and these experiences filter through into his work.
Covid-19 – An Artist’s Response Opens at 4pm Saturday 20 August with an introduction by Michel Tuffery and runs daily until 25 September from 10am till 4.30pm in The Niven Room.
Entry to Taupō Museum is free for locals and tamariki, $5 for adults, and $3 for seniors and students.