Installation view of Mahtab Hussain, Dr A Shahid with Ember, 2020 at Southbank Centre’s ‘Everyday Heroes’, 2020.
The artworks on display for this outdoor exhibition were expertly curated by member of our Board of Trustees – Cedar Lewisohn; celebrating the vital contributions that key workers and frontline staff made and continue to make during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of the artworks featured portray the family and friends of contributing artists, making the works beautifully intimate, and echoing the shrunken social bubbles we now inhabit.
Zoom and COVID-19, SOPA IMAGES/LIGHTROCKET VIA GETTY IMAGES
This year has seen all manner of professional and family life events take place virtually, via Zoom; From grandparents seeing new grandchildren for the first time, to our very own 2020 New Museum School Graduation. As the year progressed many of us realised the toll of becoming ‘zoomed-out’, that particular fatigue of hearing what a person was saying – out of sync with seeing them actually say it. Screens more than ever have become our windows to the wider world.
Marc Hare for Hassan Hajjaj’s My Rockstars series, 2013
We loved hearing about this in 2019, but never had time to go and see it. This year gave virtual exhibitions a new focus, we were able to see Hassan Hajjaj’s show, ‘The Path’ virtually during the first national lockdown. The exhibition was at Nottingham’s New Art Exchange and presents a unique view of culture and identity in our globalised world. Born in Morocco, Hajjaj moved to Britain aged 12 and works between both countries. Hajjaj’s work features a vivid expression of colour, pattern, repurposed logos and objects. Signs, symbols and people sit without hierarchy, ignoring the tired Eurocentric worldview. In the Main Gallery you will see the ‘My Rock Stars’ collection, including film and photo portraits depicting Hajjaj’s inspirational figures from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds. The above image is a portrait of Marc Hare a London-based shoe designer. Collectively, Hajjaj weaves a tapestry of modern Britain, focusing on figures whose family origins mostly lie abroad, conjuring a vision of a society united, a sentiment we can all find comfort in during these times. We love how Hajjaj’s portraits so perfectly evoke a sense of hybridity and multiculturalism. In his work, cultural identity is fluid and multiple rather than fixed and singular, or even layered. We’d recommend seeing it