Lockdown artwork to go on display as part of mental health group’s exhibition

Adults and children from across East Cambridgeshire will have their inspiring artwork displayed as part of a mental health community’s lockdwon exhibition.

One month ago, Cambridgeshire Expressive Arts and Counselling Centre C.I.C reached out to residents of Ely and the local community asking for artists and individuals to participate in our community art exhibition.

Eleanor Port, of CEAACC, said: “COVID and lockdown has had a significant impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing, the necessary isolation increasing symptoms of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and self-esteem.

“Art and creativity for many people has been a lifeline over the last six months, and as a community organisation, we wanted to capture this in our exhibition.”

Six adult artists came forward following the callout as well as several children and young people.

She added: “Through their art and stories they express their emotions, experiences, hopes and strength.

“The mix of art and media has been diverse and vibrant, from acrylics, colouring, and crochet, to mixed-media, pastels, pens, oils, sketches and water colours. There is no recipe for lockdown art.”

For Ely-based artist Victoria Wood, lockdown meant that she “picked-up a paintbrush for the first time after 35 years”.

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For her, painting daily became a source of “calm and positive focus”.

Local artist Selena McCabe said: “My art is a snapshot of memories taken from a time and place that evokes feelings of contentment… finding beauty in colours to brighten, inspire, escape and reflect.”

Another artist, David Ogilvie, said: “During lockdown I made several pictures of the nature reserve in Little Downham where I live, these pictures are about the hope of emerging from dark days into a brighter future.”

Jennifer St Quintin, who is also an artist, said: “With the added isolation and separation from my support network, art, creativity and crochet helped to me to cope and manage my anxiety and depression.

“Creativity has always been part of my life, but this year with COVID, it’s helped me to stay in the moment and has been a huge part of managing my mental health.”

CEAACC is a mental health community organisation which provides counselling and therapeutic services to children, young people and adults.

Eleanor said the community exhibition aims to “inspire and bring people together at what continues to be a difficult and challenging time for many”.

CEAACC’s ‘revolving art gallery’ also provides the opportunity for local artists to exhibit their work free of charge for six weeks.