'The People's Pandemic' - BA Graduate Collection
‘The People’s Pandemic’ collection explores the Coronavirus pandemic, looking at how different groups of people have been impacted. Research was focused on investigating how NHS staff, key workers, politicians and the everyday person were impacted by the virus and how life had changed for each of them. I drew inspiration from traditional ceramic forms as well as contemporary artists, with a particular interest in Ancient Greek ceramics and their storytelling qualities.
I developed a character to represent each group based on real people, portrayed through illustrations on the forms. Furthermore, I wanted to create a maximalist finish to my pieces to represent how overwhelming the year has been for many. Therefore, the characters are surrounded by a series of motifs that are symbolic of people’s experiences, as well as various words and phrases stamped into the surface that have become common over the pandemic and summarise how life has changed.
A mix of oxides cover the surface of the vessels to imply general dystopia, as the events of the past year have highlighted many issues with our society, governmental control, and corporate biases - reminiscent of an anti-utopia movie. Each motif and phrase are surrounded by a terracotta bubble, representative of the social bubbles we have been limited to during the pandemic. The web-like strings that attach the bubbles together symbolise our shared experiences as a society, as well as our individual support networks. The green lava glaze represents the virus itself, grossly appearing to drip down the surface of the vessels to represent the manner in which it is transmitted – through coughs and sneezes.
Each vessel also represents the individual characters, with the developed shapes linking to the characters. NHS staff are shown on an albarello jar, as traditionally this form would hold ointments and drugs at pharmacies, tying it to the medical responsibility of the NHS. The key worker vessel is a money jar, reflecting how they have kept the economy going throughout the pandemic, despite many others being furloughed. The Politician character is shown on a form inspired by the Ming Dynasty, linking to the character through its link with government, as during this period the ceramic factories were reorganised to provide the court with porcelain goods. The everyday person character is shown on a large jug, a ceramic form that the majority possess, representing how everyone has been impacted in some way by Coronavirus.