St James’s Market Pavilion x Andrea Tyrimos
MTArt Agency is proud to present “Lockdown Stories”, an art installation by Andrea Tyrimos, at St James’s Market Pavilion in collaboration with The Crown Estate to welcome Londoners back to the public realm. The show explores mental health issues and how people coped during the first lockdown. This art exhibition consists of a series of portraits and audio recordings of lockdown stories. You will have the chance to walk by our project and listen to the stories of a range of anonymous people from all backgrounds. In these beautiful stories, from students to an NHS doctor, you will have a glimpse of their daily lives, and how little things such as seeing the “lovely things that the local community have done to support [the NHS]” and “hanging art on walls” have helped them mentally to live lockdown in the most positive way possible.
Each and every one of us has been affected by lockdown in some sort of way, and all of us have tried to get through this difficult time with things that bring positive energy to our everyday life. Many of the participants mentioned that creative activities had helped them. Art has a powerful effect on your mental health. According to the Harvard Medical School, studies have shown that art and creativity “can help people with depression, anxiety, or cancer”. Maintaining health issues with art, whether it is installed in your home or on your streets, can have the ability to add some positive and inspiring visual to someone’s everyday life as well as being a daily source of empowerment. The show will be on until the end of June 2021, you can listen to the stories at St James’s Market Pavilion every day from 8 am to 8 pm or read the stories below (exact end dates to be confirmed).
Have a peek at the exhibition catalogue here
“I’m really proud of this collaboration with MTArt Agency and St James’s Market Pavilion – because not only is it bringing art to all, it’s giving people the opportunity to reflect on a historic time, their time during lockdown, and to take a moment to think about what they’re grateful for and how they’re maintaining their mental health.
The cabinets contain oil paintings on steel as well as portrait pencil studies of those who have taken part. Alongside these are objects from my studio showing my working process; palettes encrusted with dried oil paint sit next to stained jars and scraps of canvas – giving the visitor an insight into my own time during lockdown.” – MTArt Agency Artist, Andrea Tyrimos
We are inviting you to participate
Andrea Tyrimos and MTArt Agency are inviting you to participate in their current show « Lockdown Stories » at St James’s Market Pavilion.
How to record your audio & what is it about?
Our artist wants the participants to record themselves saying a message exploring how they’re maintaining positive mental health during this challenging time. If you can think of anything you are grateful for at this time/a positive message then get involved!
Please record via the voice recorder on your phone and then email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
It can be as short as you like, and no longer than 30 seconds. If you do feel you have a longer message to share, you can split in to 2 separate recordings. Please also ensure you wait at least 3 seconds before speaking and allow 3 seconds at the end of the recording. And for there to be no background noise ideally.
We are looking forward to hearing your beautiful stories.
About our Artist:
Andrea Tyrimos is a multidisciplinary artist based in London represented by MTArt Agency. Andrea explores mental health through paintings, installations, audio art and public art. Through her “Bipolar Picasso” series, Andrea pushes the boundary of portraiture by combining audio and visual elements. In this series, spectators are immersed in a sensory exploration of the mind of people suffering from mental health issues. In February 2021, Andrea joined the #LightItBlue project, an initiative part of the wider #MakeItBlue campaign in the UK, to encourage people to share their own messages of gratitude and solidarity to the NHS. Andrea’s portrait of an NHS worker was diffused on digital screens in central London.
Watch the video of our show “Lockdown Stories” (edited by Jennifer Moyes)
Read the transcript of the audio recordings below:
“I wanted to share a few things that I am grateful for today, some small uplifting things, poetry in all its forms and the nourishment and the solace I find in words on a page, this is true magic. My tiny runner beans have germinated and look like they are trying to run to the garden and make it their home.”
“Sunshine makes me smile, grass makes me smile…and it has really helped not having to be busy, I don’t have to be on social media if I don’t want to. When I wake up in the morning and the sunshine is beautiful and the birds are so loud, it just makes me realise that there’s a beautiful world out there if I want to explore.”
“I think what I miss the most in lockdown, and what had a big impact on me was how much I miss greenery, the colour green on plants and trees and flowers and going for walks in the park had a huge impact and a positive impact in the way that I had never imagined… I just love being outdoors now and I’d never thought about it before because I always was.”
“Some of the other things that are really helping boost our morale is some of the really lovely things that the local community have done to support us, clap for carers is really heartwarming every week. The first time it happened I was really touched and the fact that every week people are going out and banging there saucepans for us is very sweet, and I think it does not only help NHS workers, I think it also helps the rest of the community feel united”
“I have been coping by maintaining my study, keeping up exercise, listening to podcasts and cooking for my parents and my siblings. We also visited grandparents through the window to keep them company which is nice.”
“I appreciate knowing my world can change with a few simple self-love thoughts and building up feelings of love, passion and the fact that everything is possible, that I really appreciate knowing.”
“Lockdown was a blessing, a moment in time I will never forget. A time I reconnected with family, friends, lost the old ways gained the new, no facade no potency, compassion, empathy, passion, togetherness, new business ventures, success, removing old personnel, embracing new personnel, the future not the past.”
“People who remind me to think about the things I am grateful for; my family, my home, my friends, my artist community, the NHS, all the key workers that are putting themselves at risk for the rest of us. The fact that it is spring, bird songs which can now be heard in North London, bees buzzing in the Spring blossom, connections we make despite isolation and love.”
“It’s been difficult for a social butterfly such as me to be confined to my flat, but I am really grateful for the technology that enables me to stay in touch with all my friends and family and also re-connect with those I have lost touch with.”
“I am grateful for where I live, with a garden, woodlands and lakes, flowers and birds songs and supportive neighbours. I have been doing a lot of self-development, with an online coaching course, daily meditation and yoga. I posted a daily cooping calendar on Facebook and got lots of positive feedback. I am grateful to have enough work to keep me occupied but also time to sleep, reset my body and recover.”
“Music, that’s the main abiding memory, learning music, playing music, picking up the guitar again after years away and actually having space to practice. Then singing, when I’ve never sung before and feeling brave enough to share it with others. It helps to form a connection with friends and family. Outside of lockdown, these were connections that just would not have happened, music became the one thing that brought us together and it has been a gift.”
“I am very grateful for my apartment in the North Italian mountains, having moved here one year ago was the best decision I ever could take, because looking at the mountains every day is calming me and even though I cannot go there, it just gives me tremendous pleasure knowing that they are waiting for me and I am also very grateful for my partner who was very patient with my emotions, because I am feeling in all the fields, endless friends who come in a check on me, and are totally fine with me not replying if I don’t feel so”
“During the lockdown, I am grateful for my career in music, which enables me to stay creative during this really challenging time of isolation. I find that by being creative and creativity in general really helps me and helps my anxiety, helps me stay sane, I love music so much it just gives me that freedom to express myself during this time of isolation when we are all stuck for something to do, or just going a little bit mad with being confined in the same space all the time, I find that music gives me that release, it helps me express myself and keeps me happy.”
“During this lockdown, the environment I was living in has helped a lot to go through it mentally, I hanged artworks that were created by artists and artworks that I created myself on my walls. Waking up every morning to these inspiring and colourful visuals has helped me a lot to be creative in what I do, and especially in the tasks that I found extremely hard to do as everything was closed. It was a source of inspiration that I had at home.”
“I remind myself, I am lucky to have food, a roof over my head and my health. I feel so grateful for my loving family and all the key workers helping us get through this very difficult time. And with all the extra time that I have now, I started doing all those things I was meant to do so someday, I actually went running for the first time a few weeks ago which was quite funny. I’ve painted a picture of some flowers from my garden, and I haven’t painted anything for years. I have also started an online book club with some friends and I have been cooking and baking more each week, but what I have loved the most about this time is hearing the birds and seeing paraqites in my area.”
“If this pandemic has taught me anything, it would be that learning a new hobby or a new skill definitely protects your well being, and honestly well being needs to take the front seat in these crazy times. I know a lot of people are probably in the same place, so you kind of got to give yourself credit for this scale of change, this global change that has happened to the human race. It’s an immense positive to learn something new.“
“My neighbour has developed new software to unite people with disabilities with their loved ones and support workers. The clematis in the garden is in full bloom and the bees have taken over which means we must have done something right. I finally returned to doing yoga today after a horrific accident and a diagnosis of PTSD, I finally feel like I am in my own skin. The sun is shining on the sink while I wash up”.
“For me, the simple things make me smile, the baths, the bubble baths, the smile from someone really, the ‘hello Emmy Lou’, from the postman made me really smile today. All the plants in my flat I took care of them all because I haven’t had the time before, so I just sprayed them all… and I planted them all with moss around them and remove all the crispy bits that were dying I got rid of, so I feel like not only are my plants being taking care of but so am I.”
“What I have learned through lockdown is understanding myself better, understanding the true value in my life, my children who are my true purpose to be happy and wake up every day to do my best as a dad. Just to become a better person, I value the love of my life.”
“There are many things I am grateful for during this lockdown, the first thing will be just being able to slow down and get a better routine and rediscover things of my life that I wasn’t able to give time to before because I was so busy working, whether that’s baking, things like fresh cheese scones that I and my family can have for breakfast and if the weather permits we can sit outside in the garden and eat them. Whereas before I couldn’t even eat breakfast because I was so busy running for the train. Another thing is just being able to spend time with family and my dog, I can take him out for walks at lunchtime and just basically have life.”
“I am glad to finally have time to explore my grandma’s recipes, with all the family joining in and that’s one little thing that makes all of this lockdown a little bit better.”
“The other lovely thing that I have seen is that the patients who are coming in at the moment are particularly thankful, in a way that I have not really seen before. I mean patients are always amazing and will say at the end ‘thank you so much, you have really helped me’. Those things are not the reason we do it, but it’s lovely to hear, and I think that particularly at the moment, patients are more willing to enter into that kind of dialogue and really ask how things are with us, which has not ever really happened before, and I feel quite touched that people are doing that and caring about us as we care for them, and those are little interactions with patients that are lovely and deeply going”
Listen to the stories right here: