Happy New Year! 🐂
To initiate the next twelve months in the spirit of the majestic Ox, I present to you five special A5 sized drawings that I was recently asked to complete for The Drawing Box project:
As an international platform for the Arts, this project was reignited in March 2020 by artist Diane Henshaw whilst on furlough from her usual job as Arts Officer for Fermanagh & Omagh District Council. The Drawing Box social media Facebook group was originally established in Winter 2012 with founding members John Crabtree, Andrew Crane & Patil Rajendra by Diane Henshaw – the idea of the group was to link artists within a national and international context who had an interest in contemporary drawing and global networking; this went on to manifest itself in the form of a major small works unframed and unfunded touring exhibition & online network for members – eventually the original drawing box expo went to archive and was gifted post international tour to The National Irish Visual Arts Library in Dublin.
The idea of changing the ethos of the Drawing Box and creating a private online platform for its members re-kindled after 8 years of inactivity. Diane Henshaw decided to re-initiate the activities of the original and growing members group by inviting 51 selected and culturally diverse members to post pre-recorded studio video clips and stills of art work with some online engagement associated with their creative practice during lockdown. During lockdown the Arts Council of Northern Ireland awarded Diane some emergency C19 arts funding to administrate the studio visits for the group, curate our touring shows to both Mumbai in 2021 and this major tour of international arts. The programming over this year has helped to give artists hope and some unique and unusual opportunities to be profiled internationally through the networks created as well as through programming being developed – e.g. meet the artist online studio visits and exhibitions.
Creating art for arts sake, for sanity during these days of isolation and thus connecting artists – opens up new ways for creative engagement discussions, hosted through Zoom, art critique and other modes through which contextual practice can thrive. A key focus of the events and programming has been to visually nurture members and their interests by sharing information, by creating connections, and in general being there for each other. Thus, after an initial launch exhibition at Modeenagh Studio, Fermanagh in December 2020, these A5 scale drawings made during the pandemic (5 by each participating artist) will go on to be exhibited in the Galway Arts Centre for a weeks pop up in January 2021. You can catch this show live as it goes on its global tour during 2021-22 featuring 300 drawings in all media by artists from the collective made before and during the pandemic.
Tour post Galway continues to:
February – Cyprus
April – Athens, Greece
May – Germany
June – New Delhi, India
July – Lithuania
August – New Mexico
October – Australia
November – Ghent, Belgium
December – Gronegan, Nètherlands
January 2022 – Argyl, Scotland
There are many negative impacts the pandemic visited upon the world, and the art world specifically. The generosity of spirit and the courage to reach across dictatorship of differences, the initiative of each of our host artists and the host venues in some way define our ways out of the paralysis the Covid 19 visited upon us. Drawing Box group feels privileged to connect with their take on values.
This text is an edited version of the press release by Diane Henshaw, and after attending the initial launch exhibition at her home studio in Fermanagh I knew that some awkward Lucky drawings would fit in best among the rest of the works. There can never be too many dogs, and if my memory serves me right – there were no dog drawings among all of the art displayed! Hence, I desperately needed to rectify this situation. Though, my original pieces are not as red toned as pictured, so I hope that you get to see these pieces in their true quality in real life perhaps. Let me know if it’ll be coming to anywhere near you in the world! 🐕