See online exhibition by artists in response to Covid-19

Artists are painting a picture of the pandemic through an online exhibition.
An image from the new exhibitionAn image from the new exhibition
An image from the new exhibition

Sunderland arts organisation Norfolk Street Arts has commissioned two local artists to produce an exhibition in the wake of Covid-19.

Artist Jayne Johnson and sound producer Jay Sykes worked in collaboration to produce Rainbow Echoes, an audio and visual response to the experience of local people during lockdown.

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The exhibition is one in a series of paid commissions from Norfolk Street Arts, helping support local artists financially throughout Covid-19, funded by Arts Council England.

Artists created pieces in response to the pandemicArtists created pieces in response to the pandemic
Artists created pieces in response to the pandemic

Director Vincent Todd said: “Covid-19 has had a terrible impact on so many aspects of life, and the arts is no exception. Sadly, a number of much-loved arts organisations in our own area have already had to close their doors permanently.

"We feel very fortunate to have been able to provide financial support to our creative community through this and a number of other commissions at this difficult time for the arts, as well as being supported ourselves by Arts Council England.”

Jayne Johnson, from Spennymoor in County Durham, said: “My work as an artist is predominantly teaching. This came to a standstill in March. This commission has helped fund me through a difficult time when I was unable to make an income as an artist due to Covid-19.”

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Jayne contracted Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic, and is now suffering from ‘long covid’, having developed parosmia as a result – a condition that distorts the sufferer’s sense of taste and smell, often causing familiar smells to become very unpleasant.

She added: “I struggle to find things I want to eat, as foods I once liked now smell awful to me. It is really difficult to even cook the family dinner sometimes

without feeling ill. I used this commission to escape this, wanting to explore my other senses through the brief. I used colour and texture to represent the experience of myself and others.”

Sound producer Jay Sykes, from Sunderland, said: “Covid has affected everyone in so many different ways. I used this opportunity to talk with people and explore this artistically. I’ve brought together aspects of words, sound and music, like a mosaic, to bring together different experiences of lockdown.

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"The commission has helped me to become more financially secure during this period as some of my other projects have been postponed because of Covid-19. I would like to thank Norfolk Street Arts for this fantastic opportunity.”

Director Vincent Todd said: “The work produced was of a really high standard, and reflective of the period of Covid, responding to our city’s experience in really different and unique ways. We have had the commission digitally mapped, so it is available online for everyone in our city to access and enjoy.

"This is another first for our organisation, as we move into new ways of utilising digital technology to widen participation in the arts in response to Covid-19.”

The exhibition Rainbow Echoes is free to visit online on the Norfolk Street Arts website,

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