#BeStill – a Pandemic Art Challenge

6 months ago | by

Across the globe, people in lockdown are using their creativity to help manage and record their experiences of living in this newly unfamiliar world.

Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery has responded by creating a digital art challenge to capture the domestic reality of people living in COVID-19 isolation on the Coffs Coast for posterity – #BeStill.

“Life has become a much smaller world for us all and, for many people, it’s entirely lived at home. This has seen an explosion of creativity and collaboration through video, song, musical performance, art and all kinds of wonderful and unexpected things,” said Cecile Knight, Acting Curator, Museum and Gallery.

“This also got us thinking about how people’s lives have slowed down and become almost still and we wanted to capture the domestic experiences of people living in COVID-19 isolation on the Coffs Coast, and around the world, through the theme of still life in honour of our collective stillness.

“It is particularly resonant for the Regional Gallery as we are the host of the Biennial Still: National Still Life Award.”

To get involved, people are simply being asked to take a photo of a still life composition – either a composition you’ve created especially, or something you think defines this moment for you in isolation – and post it to Instagram with one of the following hashtags #BeStillCoffsCoast, #BeStillAustralia or #BeStillWorld. Be sure to tag @coffsharbourregionalgallery in each post.

“Photos with these hashtags will be printed by the Gallery over the coming months with the aim of displaying them on the walls of the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery as part of a planned ‘Be Still Exhibition’ which will be ready to be explored once the Gallery’s doors are re-opened,” added Ms Knight.

“A selection of these works will then be included in our Coffs Collections Digitisation Project for future generations.”

Local resident Nerida Little has been inspired by #BeStill and already uploaded her images on Instagram to take part. “Our worlds have shrunk during the lockdown, but it doesn’t mean they have to be smaller,” she says. “I saw #BeStill as a way of looking at my smaller world and appreciating the everyday that is otherwise overlooked. It also gave me a chance to be creative in a way I never am normally.”

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