Women of Newport are back together at The Art of Lockdown – by Lily Hayden

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Local artists and their crafts at the Westgate Hotel
Local artists and their crafts at the Westgate Hotel

Saturday 15th August saw the official public opening of The Westgate Hotel’s The Art of Lockdown exhibition, and what an opening it was!

With over thirty artists submitting their creative expressions, the gallery was packed (at a social distance of course). The event was a credit to organisers David Daniel and Gavin Facey.

From the left: Janet Martin, Lily Hayden, Clare Salisbury, Stacey Daly. Friendly meeting at the Tiny Rebel
From the left: Janet Martin, Lily Hayden, Clare Salisbury, Stacey Daly. Friendly meeting at the Tiny Rebel

Gavin said “When David suggested the concept to me, I knew straight away it was a fantastic idea. I’m sure that I was just about to think of the idea myself 😉. We were blown away with the initial response and to have over 30 artists display their art was more than what we could have hoped for.
The organisation wasn’t without a little bit of stress, but to be honest, that was mainly due to COVID related anxieties. The artists were great to work with, we just facilitated and let them get on with installing their pieces. It has been a pleasure working with them.”

Philomena Jordan Patrikios (from Wellness and Life Coach) and Lily Rose Bolwell
Philomena Jordan Patrikios (from Wellness and Life Coach) and Lily Rose Bolwell

Lockdown has been tough for everyone and many people turned to art to help get then through it. From photography to abstract and everything in between, there is such an eclectic mix on show. There was a really strong feel good factor at the Westgate on the weekend, it felt as though it was just what the people of Newport needed after a very tough few months.”

Celebrating women at the Tiny Rebel just before the Launch
Celebrating women at the Tiny Rebel just before the Launch

Against the breathtaking backdrop of the iconic hotel, it was a stunning and thought-provoking collection featuring work from a diverse range of artists. Many past and present Women of Newport were in attendance to show their support, as the exhibition featured many WoN- some as the subject and some as the artist.

Friendly meeting of women at the Tiny Rebel the same day before the launch
Friendly meeting of women at the Tiny Rebel the same day before the launch

Lucille Jones a local illustrator was featured as both a subject in Kamila’s mini exhibition and as an artist with her Black Lives Matter fists in pen and pencil, and digital edits of the sketch. You can also find the illustrations on t-shirts as well as prints alongside her other gorgeous designs at Lucille’s shop on Redbubble. The proceeds from sales of the designs featured in the exhibition are going to LibertyUK and The Movement for Black Lives.

Lucille Jones, local artist illustrator
Lucille Jones, local artist illustrator

Kim Partridge the extremely talented photographer behind the breathtaking Broken Doll Images used her lockdown to create the Tim Burton-inspired Alice in Wonderland scenes. Kim captures the madness of Lockdown for many perfectly in her deliciously dark fairy-tale scenes.

Women of Newport superstars contributed to the showcase with Miss Rie’s stunning hand-painted leather jackets and iconic images, and Georgie Berry’s gorgeous crafts.

Newport's Polish community meeting at the Tiny Rebel just before the launch of the exhibition
Newport’s Polish community meeting at the Tiny Rebel just before the launch of the exhibition

Kamila Jarczak displayed her striking landscape photography of local spots as well as a Women of Newport Lockdown Mini Exhibition featuring some socially distanced shoots of more fabulous women and supporters of Women of Newport.

Three-year-old Aoife Whittaker with her dad and unicorns, the youngest woman photographed for the WoN mini exhibition
Three-year-old Aoife Whittaker with her dad and unicorns, the youngest woman photographed for the WoN mini exhibition

Sisters Stephanie and Nicky Taylor- founders of HMO Heaven and Rent 2 Rent Success- were photographed for Kamila’s exhibition and attended the event. 

Stephanie and Nicky Taylor before the launch of the exhibition, with Janet Martin
Stephanie and Nicky Taylor before the launch of the exhibition, with Janet Martin

A standout for Newport during lockdown has to be the tireless efforts of Feed Newport; the Pill-based CIC Community group are made up of dedicated local people who have worked hard to feed the community. Kamila photographed the group as part of her Women of Newport Lockdown Mini Exhibition, and some of the wonderful women of Feed Newport were in attendance.

Local women running Feed Newport CIC community helping people in poverty
Local women running Feed Newport CIC community helping people in poverty
Lucille, Lily, Stacey, Clare and ladies from FEED NEWPORT before the launch
Lucille, Lily, Stacey, Clare and ladies from FEED NEWPORT before the launch

Whilst many of us have been battling to adjust to the changes, the women of Feed Newport have been donning their masks and heading down to the Food Bank every day to welcome new and regular clients, registering new service users, collecting food and making food parcels to distribute. It’s a tiring and physical job, and women make up a high proportion of Tariq’s team. Feed Newport supports people who are homeless, refugees, older people, people fleeing domestic violence, and those at risk through living in poverty.

The uncertainty of Covid-19 will no doubt have lasting economic repercussions and Feed Newport rely on volunteer as well as donations, both food and monetary. If you are lucky enough to be in a position to help, please do or if you work for a local business please get in touch with the group to offer your support. 

Women of Newport is about women, but men are also welcome! Record One guys were included in WoN mini exhibition at the Westgate Hotel
Women of Newport is about women, but men are also welcome! Record One guys were included in WoN mini exhibition at the Westgate Hotel

 

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