We put a call out for cocooners over the age of 70 who might be interested in participating in a virtual portrait sitting with artist Andy Parsons, who received an Arts Council Covid-19 Award, in association with Age & Opportunity.
Sixteen people from the four counties were selected and Andy set to work. Over three zoom sessions, Andy Parsons painted the portraits while talking and getting to know each person. It was a wonderful opportunity to find out how the elderly people had responded to the last few months of Covid.
In return for their time, Andy has arranged for the finished portraits to be delivered to the sitter’s homes. It is hoped that a small number of close family, friends and staff will be able to view the portrait, depending on Covid restrictions at the time.
Although this tangible piece of art is the outcome of the sittings, Andy has said it “was as much about the conversations as the portraits. Interactions built over time, to the point of including comfortable silences!” It is hoped that a small number of close family, friends and staff will be able to view the portrait, depending on Covid restrictions, thereby democratising the consumption of art.
This socially engaged project has been representative of the nation-wide intuition to cherish the things we have, be present in our circumstances and reconnect with the things our busy lives had obstructed pre-Covid. It afforded the chance for the sitters to connect with society outside of their homes and care settings in a way that may not have otherwise been possible. Seeking out the voices of our elderly people that can too often be overlooked.