COVID lockdown artworks on show in Katoomba

A community art project is now on display in Katoomba fired by the imaginations of those in lockdown during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

The project was installed at the beginning of January. It was conceived during lockdown by the Gateway Family Services team as a way to help children and families feel connected and reflect on their strength and resilience while in isolation.

Called Kindred connections, art packs were delivered to 60 families in the Blue Mountains/Nepean local government area.

The Gateway Family Services team, leader Sophie Corbett, art therapist Sally Grant and play therapist Kathie O'Connor said they wanted to remain connected with families through alternative methods other than Zooming.

The hoop art is on display in the window gallery outside the Big Little Shop in Ha'Penny Lane.

"We witnessed the resilience our community holds and you are able to see this yourselves in this art installation," Ms Grant said.

"We were privileged to be able to do this alongside Aunty Marie Clegg, senior Wiradjuri woman, who reminded us that laughter and taking joy in the simple things are important for maintaining good mental health in trying times," she added

Ms Corbett said the process of art making helped some children makes sense of the pandemic.

COVID creativity: Aubrey Grant, 10, and Asher Grant, 5. The artworks will be on display until end of the month. Photo: Duncan Grant

COVID creativity: Aubrey Grant, 10, and Asher Grant, 5. The artworks will be on display until end of the month. Photo: Duncan Grant

Phoenix Bonynge, 4, wanted to draw the virus. Of the drawing the young artist said: "It starts here and moves very fast in circles, it jumps on people to make them sick, then the people move around, that's how it gets everywhere."

For others it helped them focus on the positive aspects of the changes in their lives.

"We really enjoyed being part of this art project! It was a lot of fun. Our hoop shows a few of the things we enjoyed doing together during COVID isolation which was baking cupcakes, sewing and making pom poms," said Kira and HollieConner.

"I felt the strangeness of an altered world and life. Our garden was our place to be...we breathed, slowed down, connected to nature and spent time together. Less rushing, deadlines and agendas..." said Pauline Millar and her family.

During the lockdown period Gateway Family Services continued to provide emergency relief food and support as well as family support and counselling, art therapy and play therapy via Zoom. Play groups also reverted to online.

Gateway Family Services thanked the Blue Mountains City Council for the $875 grant which enabled it to happen. The display will be in the window until the end of the month.