‘Created by Covid: “Through the locking glass” Exhibition open at Rheged

Today, Friday 25 June, Rheged’s Gallery previewed a new exhibition. “Through the Locking Glass” spotlights Cumbrian creatives’ response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with an emphasis on lockdowns.

This exhibition captures a unique time in human history; it celebrates the creativity, diversity and excellence of the 80 featured Cumbrian artists and includes 160 pieces of high-quality fine art, illustrations, prints, photography, poetry, 3D art and sculpture.

On hand to launch it were David Felton, author of “Through the Locking Glass – What Cumbrian Artists did through Lockdown”, the book that inspired the exhibition along with Evelyn Sinclair exhibiting artist and collaborator on the book. Alongside them were exhibiting artist Joan Prickett with Eve and Kirsty - NHS workers whose portraits are in the exhibition. Finally, Amy Williams from Kendal, who won the commission to create a piece that reflected the essence of the pandemic. Her 3D Cumbrian paper landscape encourages visitors to actively engage with the exhibition and share their stories.

Amy commented: “My vision for this commission was to create a playful yet thoughtful paper art installation with elements of the written word in response to the diverse range of people’s experiences over the pandemic. Sculptural components are installed in the space built up from the floor and hung from the ceiling and surrounded by a paper freeze on the wall.”

Programming and Partnership Manager, Claire Logan-Stephens said: “It has been an absolute joy to bring this exhibition to fruition at Rheged and along the way to hear so many amazing stories of how the lockdowns influenced the artists’ work. We have captured these in the film, sound and written interpretation which supports the exhibition. Amy’s work is just beautiful and a wonderful addition to the exhibition. We look forward to seeing how this evolves as visitors share their memories of lockdown, a selection of which will be recreated in paper to add to the ongoing story of the installation.”

Quite literally ‘created by Covid’, Through the Locking Glass spotlights how Cumbrian artists responded in different ways to 14 months of pandemic and the three lockdowns. For some artists, the lockdowns were their most creative time, with no interruptions, while others found new inspiration or worked in very different ways, using new techniques or materials.

A collaborative effort, the exhibition is supported by the Arts Council and artworks were selected by a panel including representatives from Anti-Racist Cumbria, Prism Arts, University of Cumbria and Eden Arts.

David Felton said: “The story of “Through the Locking Glass” was one of Cumbrian passion, creativity and inspiration in the toughest of times. To be able to see some of the original art from the book, along with new works, is a cause both for celebration – and reflection. It will also give artists a much-needed boost after a long period without events and exhibitions where the public can view and buy their work.”

“Through the Locking Glass” opens in Rheged’s Gallery on Saturday 26 June and runs until Sunday 5 September. – most of the 160 artworks are for sale. Open daily 9-5.30pm. Entry is free but please pre-book a time slot at rheged.com or at the desk on arrival.