For the Welcome Back Ipswich I was commissioned by Ipswich Borough Council to create an artwork that communicated the return of the public to the town after the pandemic, particularly the older members of our community - I was asked by IBC to specifically to include a key worker. After a facebook shout out for help from local nurses and carers I was introduced to a company My Care At Home. After a meeting with their MD, Margaret Fisher-Jones, I met to a carer and student nurse Stevie Squirrel, who started studying at University Suffolk, just before the pandemic. Stevie is actually a trained mechanic but it was her other role as a carer that determined the future fate. Anne, the other person in the image is a phenomenal character and is one of people Stevie cares for on a regular basis that embraced the photo shoot that then took place at Christchurch Park on a very drizzly Tuesday morning in March. I used a mirror as a tool to try and join both people almost 'as one' to communicate their togetherness.
I decided, rather like Lowestoft Man to add a map of the town to the final artwork. Originally I was going to bond the final image to a concrete wall but it was difficult to find one that a) belonged to the council and b) was easy to access (most available walls were just red brick) so I opted for the material I had used for Refugee Stories, an OSB ply board - however the difference was that this time the image was in full colour and at the largest size yet 150cm x 100cm.
After revealing the image I took it to Stevie at her university and she wrote on it using acrylic pens:
"As a carer and a student nurse, i have the opportunity to heal the mind, soul, heart and the body of my patients their families and myself. They may forget my name, but they will never forget how I made them feel. The pandemic had its struggles but I fell in love with my job all over again".
The artwork was then positioned on display at The Ancient House in Ipswich for the weekend. It is now waiting to find a new home somewhere in the town............