A digital gallery of lockdown artwork created by young people in Coventry has gone live.
The artists aged 13 to 25 are part of the Unplugged Series – an eight-week programme of mentoring run by Positive Youth Foundation and Coventry City of Culture Trust. The project was funded by Youth Music, Spirit of 2012 and Coventry City of Culture Trust.
The programme was started during lockdown as part of a drive to combat the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on the creative industries in Coventry.
The young artists were mentored by professional artists and educators and were asked to create work that was shaped by their experiences and to consider how young people can use arts and culture to spread positive messages.
Their final work, which includes rap, poetry, visual art and photography, responds to the themes such as the role of social media post lockdown, the importance of role models within creative industries and what life could look like after lockdown.
The work went live at 5pm today (July 31) on the new look Coventry City of Culture website. There are also plans for a physical exhibition of the works at a later stage when coronavirus guidelines permit.
Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director at the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “This project has tapped into the creativity of Coventry’s younger communities, during an incredibly difficult time for everyone, not least our young people.
“We are delighted with the breadth of work that has been produced, the different voices and the wonderful talent that has been un-earthed. We cannot wait for people to visit the digital gallery on our website and enjoy the incredible talent and creativity our city’s young people have to offer.”
Rashid Bhayat, Chief Executive of Positive Youth Foundation, said: “The project has been a huge success so far, and we have seen some excellent work created.
“The project has taught us a new way of engaging with young people and demonstrated that technology and working online can be extremely positive. It is certainly something we will learn from and look to implement even after lockdown.”
Chloe Deakin, one of the creative mentors on the project, said: “I absolutely loved working on the Unplugged Series.
“It was amazing seeing my group grow over the weeks, not only becoming more confident within their creative practice, but as individuals. By the third session, the group eager to help each other grow by providing feedback and giving kind words when they shared their work.
“I have been blown away by the group’s talent, and how a project like the Unplugged Series has been able to give them a safe space to explore their practice, get industry advice, and boost their confidence.”
Liv, a 20-year-old photographer, whose work will be featured in the digital gallery, said: “The Unplugged series has taught me to experiment with my medium more and the importance of critical feedback.
“Although I haven’t been able to make every session, I really enjoyed the series and I’ve learnt a lot from Chloe.
“I’m definitely going to continue experimenting with different types of photography from now on but also try and reach my goal of becoming a tour photographer.”