Documenting Art in the Time of Corona

Several months ago, creatives across the world found themselves faced with the global pandemic which halted events and exhibitions as galleries closed, travel was restricted to only 'essential', while gatherings of over two people were banned.

Not only were artists faced with the dismantling of their industry, but anxieties grew as the virus made its way into communities.

Artists have always faced the unexpected, noticing the beauty or horror in everyday life — or what the general public expect as routine, artists question and challenge.

When Gabriel García Márquez wrote Love in the Time of Cholera in 1985, he proved that love will always find a way, and that elements of life are at constant mediation with sickness or health. In a way, we confirmed this ourselves in lockdown and the spreading of COVID19. Art went from physical exhibitions to online; Instagram became a flurry of museums engaging with their audiences like never before. As slowly, people brought more art. They turned their homes into personal galleries. Art had a chance to survive.

Some beautiful threads of humanity revealed itself in the lockdown. We began to care about our neighbours. Those with disabilities and lower socio-economic background were finally allowed to see the world like never before; all you needed was an internet connection. The virus potentially equalised us.

The fear is not over, but, thankfully, neither is art.

With the support of the Northern Beaches Council, this writing project will span over the next six months and will be published on online art journals such as Art Almanac, Artist Profile, Hunter & Folk, and other collaborations with artists and galleries on the Northern Beaches. All articles are free to read for everyone. 

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Billy Bain

Billy Bain is an emerging artist who engages with ceramics, painting and printmaking to unpack ideologies surrounding Australian masculinity, taking agency in his Indigenous identity after growing up on Sydney’s Eurocentric Northern Beaches. In his upcoming solo exhibition ‘Blokes’ at .M Contemporary, the artist will be exploring these concepts in darkly humoured mini ‘men’ clay figures who are grisly, raw and unapologetically themselves.

Portraits Project

When Manly Art Gallery & Museum (MAG&M) were considering their shows for the ninetieth anniversary of the gallery, they wanted to highlight the contemporary artists who have contributed to exhibitions in recent times. One avenue they realised they hadn’t explored was portraiture. ‘We know there's such interest with so many prizes around Australia focused on portraiture, and we've never tapped into it,’ says Senior Curator Katherine Roberts.