A major fundraising public art exhibition, ART UNMASKED curated by Jack Trodd of Brushes With Greatness, will take over Westfield London’s Showcase Display in October and remain in place for all to enjoy for a year. Conceived by fundraising consultant Rich Woods of Rook International, the project began at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and explores the social, societal and personal impacts of the virus through art, while envisioning a future bright and positive post-pandemic. .
The exhibition will conclude with an auction in early 2023, held online and offline, with all proceeds going to Global’s Make Some Noise. The sale of the artwork on display will help strengthen Global’s support for small charities across the UK, which provide shelter and security, support physical and mental health, improve life skills and prevent isolation. As we enter a tough winter in a world permanently changed by COVID-19, this exhibition focuses on raising funds for those most at risk and in need across the UK.
ART UNMASKED brings together a collection of 19 unique works of art, including works by leading British contemporary artists Rob & Nick Carter, ENDLESS, Nathan Wyburn, David Harrison, Jasmine Pradissitto and Morgan Howell. It includes a wide selection of parts, various in origin, style and orientation; much inspired by the iconic mask. Together, the works of art on display reflect the lasting impact of COVID-19 on all levels of society, culture and community, while providing an opportune moment to reflect on our shared experience of Lockdown and give l hope for a positive future.
Children from local schools in Hammersmith and Fulham will also be invited to participate. Community action specialists ActionFunder will coordinate a competition, offering school children the opportunity to respond creatively to their experience of COVID-19 as we emerge into a post-pandemic future. The winning works will be exhibited as part of the exhibition, alongside works by leading artists.
Thematically, the exhibition tells a story of transition, from the early days of the COVID crisis to the present day. A selection of works by Nathan Wyburn, Rob & Nick Carter, Jasmine Pradissitto, David Bray & Ben Oakley and James Mortimer reflect on our experience of COVID-19 during the most difficult times, with vivid symbols such as the bow -rainbow, the mask and a stunning hand-finished digital montage of portraits of NHS workers. Bringing together powerful emerging and established voices in street art, the works of ENDLESS and SHEM explore our urban environments and the strength gathered and displayed in city centers during lockdown. This message also shines through in Charlie Haydn Taylor’s piece, an interior scene with a nostalgic view out the window of the cityscape below. Morgan Howell’s sculpture stands out as a beacon of resilience, viewing David Bowie’s anthem Changes as an ode to passing through difficult times of transition.
In the work of Ben Edge, David Harrison, Joe Grieve and James Mortimer, nature’s positive impact on our well-being during lockdowns, as well as how it was thought to “heal” as humanity deserted the streets, comes to the fore. Images around folklore, freedom and thriving wildlife create a restful respite and remind us of positive days during the pandemic and beyond. Meanwhile, a selection of artists offer a brave look at experiences of mental illness, anxiety and fear that for many have been heightened during the pandemic. Plays by Molly Kent, James Dearlove and Henry Glover delicately examine the mental illness, escapism and sleepless nights of adolescents, respectively.Molly Kent
Offering Hope and True Light at the End of the Tunnel are works by Kris Lamba, Marc Richard, Niamh Birch and Dessy Beava. Together they speak of resilience, strength, community and human connection. It is these pieces, seen in the context of the experience of COVID-19 made manifest by the other artists on display, that hold the overarching message of the exhibition.
In its conception, this project by curator Jack Trodd in partnership with Global’s Make Some Noise, Westfield London and ActionFunder focuses on raising much needed funds for small charities working hard across the UK and invites us to remember of a historic moment that we collectively experienced. In the case of ART UNMASKED, the diverse creativity of many exciting emerging and established voices are brought together to bring new artistic encounters to the everyday and spread positivity based on a belief in the power of art to bring about change for good. .
Stuart Campbell, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Global’s Make Some Noise, comments: “Global’s Make Some Noise is delighted to be the chosen charity for ART UNMASKED. The funds raised by the fundraiser will make a huge difference to small, vital charities working with people living in the most difficult circumstances in the heart of our local communities. The covid pandemic has added further pressure to small charities when they were already overwhelmed with demand for their services. The money raised will help them support more people and continue to provide support to those who need it most.
Jack Trodd, curator of the exhibition and director of Brushes With Greatness, comments: “The two years spent organizing this project, with COVID 19 blocking us on several occasions, has allowed the evolving collection to truly reflect the long-term impact and growing resilience demonstrated in light of the crisis.”
Katie Wyle, Managing Director of Westfield London, comments: “The pandemic has affected many of us in ways we could never have foreseen. Throughout it all the ‘community’ stood out and we have remained and continue to remain committed to supporting our community so we are very proud to now launch ART UMMASKED where local residents, Londoners and visitors from over far can reflect on the period by inspiring works of art.