Firstsite offers virtual exhibition exploring young people and lockdown

Stay Home by Sophie Cole part of the Lockdown Unlocked online exhibition staged by Firstsite in Colchester

Stay Home by Sophie Cole part of the Lockdown Unlocked online exhibition staged by Firstsite in Colchester - Credit: Sophie Cole

An art exhibition focussing on young people’s experiences of lockdown, organised by a young Colchester student, opens online this week after being forced to postpone last year due to Covid restrictions. 

Originally set to open at the Firstsite gallery in November 2020, the Lockdown Unlocked exhibition is now available online and has been curated by 18-year-old Colchester student Freya Gascoyne, following a public open call for artworks created by 12–24-year-olds.

Freya Gascoyne, the student who curated the Lockdown Unlocked online exhibition for Firstsite

Freya Gascoyne, the student who curated the Lockdown Unlocked online exhibition for Firstsite - Credit: Freya Gascoyne

Currently in her final year of A levels at Colchester Royal Grammar school – studying Biology, Chemistry and Art – Firstsite YAK (Young Artist Kommunity) member and exhibition organiser Freya Gascoyne is thrilled that the exhibition has finally reached an audience.

She said: “We know that young people are likely to be the generation impacted the most due to Covid. This exhibition gives a fascinating insight into the lived experience of young people in Colchester and beyond, during three national lockdowns, showcased through an awesome variety of artworks.”

Firstsite, Colchester. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd.

Firstsite, the Colchester gallery who have asked young artists to explore what lockdown has meant to them - Credit: Jayne Lloyd

Initially set out to be a local open call, the exhibition is now composed of over 60 artworks – ranging from poetry and painting to digital art and videography – created by 45 different young people from across the UK and even India.

Freya added: “I’ve tried to make the most of the flexibility provided by a virtual space. For example, giving artists the opportunity to curate their own wall in the gallery, providing an intimate local context for their artwork within the overall exhibition space. Many of the artworks are accompanied by short voice recordings from the artists about their feelings and experiences of the pandemic.”

“I hope visitors will come away from the exhibition amazed by the talent on display, and with a deeper understanding about what young people are going through just now.”

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Stuart Tulloch, Firstsite’s Head of Programme says: “We are delighted to be involved in this exhibition. Whilst it was disappointing that we could not hold a physical event, Lockdown Unlocked has been thoughtfully curated and provides a powerful and moving perspective on the Covid crisis from the viewpoint of young people.”

'My mum taking a nap' by Jane Wu part of the Lockdown Unlocked exhibition

'My mum taking a nap' by Jane Wu part of the Lockdown Unlocked exhibition - Credit: Jane Wu

People can view the exhibition online , and take part in conversations via the @lockdown.exhibition Instagram page, on Twitter (@LockdownExhibi1) and on the Firstsite online studio space (@lockdownunlockedexhibition)

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