"Work is the part of our lives we've all been forced to re-evaluate over the past two years. Art about work can help us understand not just what we want to get from work, but what kind of work we think is important.
Art can help us understand what we value about work, what we enjoy about it and what meaning it gives to our lives. The pandemic perhaps gave us a chance to reassess that and think, “Am I doing the thing I want to do in the way I want to do it?””
Art Is Work, Watercolour and ink on paper, Courtesy of the artist
Working in the Hotel, Acrylic paint on canvas, Courtesy of the artist
Men at Work, Oil paint on board, Courtesy of the artist
Working from Home, Digital collage, Courtesy of the artist
Sisyphus Works the Night Shift, Oil paint on canvas, Courtesy of the artist
Home Learning Chaos, Acrylic paint and oil pastel on wallpaper, Courtesy of the artist
“As a teacher and a mother of three, lockdown was particularly challenging. Everyone I knew that was home-schooling was telling me ‘It must be so much easier for you being a teacher. You know exactly what to do.’ What they failed to realise was that teachers do not teach a range of ages in the same class, or teach three different curriculums at the same time.
So, there we were, my children, myself and 60 children (the ones I usually teach in school), muddling through as best we could. My twins trying to learn their phonics, my daughter trying to learn about the Tudors and my Year 4s trying to learn online at the same time.
At times it was chaotic. The twins would often end up fighting, my daughter deciding she hated school and the children making the best out of the hand they
had been dealt.
But we got through it. We survived. And I truly believe it has made all those in education far stronger, more resilient, and able to persevere. We jumped through hoops, we completely changed the way we taught and learnt. I love my job as teacher and as mum even more so since lockdown.”
Tiles Depicting Work, Glazed ceramic tiles, Courtesy of the artist
“I made a set of tiles depicting people working and I took the images from fine art. Childcare is work as well. A lot of people have been saying they’re not doing their jobs well because they’re having to work from home. They’re having to look after the kids. And I would like to remind them of Hogarth’s Gin Lane. They’re all doing better than this lady.”
Covid Ritual Music, Coverall polypropylene suit, decorated with buttons, ribbons and bells, video of performance. Courtesy of the artist
“During lockdown I bought a coverall suit from Screwfix with the aim to create some Covid ritual music. A quasi-folk costume, tune & instructive dance to ward away Covid. As a musician and performer with no work, it helped me channel my energies and worries. I’m really into folk customs and rituals, so making my ‘hazmat Morris’ outfit seemed the right thing to do. Greatly inspired by the DIY nature of Art Club.”
Lianne La Havas
My Dad, Henry, Pencil on paper, Courtesy of the artist
“Inspired by my father’s work as a bus driver during lockdown. He’s one of the modern heroes. He is a keen artist, sculptor/stone mason, so I did this work to acknowledge and share how my father has inspired my own art.”
The Covid Kids, Acrylic paint on stoneware, Courtesy of the artist
The Wave XV, Watercolour on paper, Courtesy of the artist
Work, During Lockdown, Acrylic paint on Canvas, Courtesy of the artist
Warrior Carer, Mixed media assemblage: dolls, book, found material. Courtesy of the artist
NHS Frontline Sketchbook: Elderly collapse at home during COVID-19 pandemic. Ink on paper, Courtesy of the artist