Lockdown Diary Exhibition by Christopher Banahan
The artwork in the exhibition are based on the Visual Covid-Lockdown Diary of artist Christopher Banahan, made during the 2020/21 lockdowns as a response to being a recipient of the Art Council’s Covid crises Artists response Award.
The experience of working in isolation comes naturally and productively for most artists but when the isolation is imposed by the government, it is a different experience altogether. As imposed confinement and the loss of freedom can a constraint on the natural creative process. Therefore during the social isolation of the pandemic I tried to address issues of confinement, loneliness, loss of liberty and losing one’s grip on reality as we all began to live in a ‘virtual online World’.
The 2 kilometre walking restriction in the early phase of the pandemic at least allowed me to reach my local beach and sketch figures in isolation whose loneliness was more intensified by the backdrop of the empty wide open beach, which hardly had any footprints on. I remember following a set of one footprints and imagined the excitement Robinson Crusoe must have felt as he came across another persons after being alone for so long.
I wanted to also reflect the fear elderly people and people in general felt when they queued outside. Supermarkets. Like most people, I had pandemic nightmares about the uncertainty of the times we are living in. I tried to express this idea of uncertainty in a series of isolated elderly people pushing shopping trolleys in remote exposed rural locations to exaggerate the insecurity and vulnerability of their experiences.
Later when elderly people were allowed out I tried to capture them alone, contemplating the expanse of the open sea as a metaphor for the’ fragility of life against the natural elements’.
Other covid diary images are self portraits where I am trying to get used to wearing the face masks and how self conscious they made one feel, particularly in the early stages of the pandemic when so few Irish people wore them.
The covid diary images are based on photographs I’d taken on my 2 kilometre walk during social isolation. Other images are from a small visual sketch covid diary, where the images are from my imagination, reflecting my fear of the pandemic ( particularly in the early stages, when their was such uncertainty of what happens in the covid hospital wards).