PORTRAITS, pictures and the deeply poignant all feature in Tameside's Culture's new online exhibition "apART".
"apART" – which has been launched to mark a year since the first UK lockdown started on March 24, 2020 – celebrates the creativity people have embraced to keep themselves occupied and aid their wellbeing during the long months of restrictions when mixing with friends and family has been severely curtailed.
More than 200 submissions by 84 Tameside artists and makers are now available to view. They cover a wide variety of expressions and subjects, ranging from train sets to paintings of local scenes and photographs of wildlife.
Some are extremely poignant. One is a memory item put together from personal belongings that was made to help with grief at a time when social contact was restricted and attendance at funerals strictly limited.
Another is from a man who started painting after his wife died. He now takes on commissions and sells them to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and to provide physical, emotional and financial help for people diagnosed with cancer and their families.
There are also some very uplifting pieces, such as one by a 10-year-old girl which gained a retweet from comedian Noel Fielding who co-presents "The Great British Bake-off". It is in the style of David Hockney and was created in response to a challenge from Noel's virtual art club to showcase a favourite artist.
Another is by a woman who started a new business painting commissioned pet portraits after the first lockdown led to her losing her job as a riding instructor. Tuesday, April 6, will be the first anniversary of her new venture.
Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council's executive member with responsibility for culture, said: "I have always been a fervent believer in the power of art to inspire us, and that quality has never been needed so much as in the last year.
"I am impressed and delighted by the work submitted for 'apART'. It all shows how people have turned to art to help them through the pandemic and that is something that I find very inspiring.
"'apART' is a unique and special exhibition that chronicles Tameside's response to the most challenging period most of us have known. I would strongly encourage people to take a look."
"apART" is available to view at www.tameside.gov.uk/apart
As soon as covid restrictions are sufficiently relaxed there will be an in-person exhibition at the Astley Cheetham Art Gallery in Stalybridge.