Depot Artspace: Caring for our Creatives from Lockdown Forward
There's nothing quite like a global pandemic to bring the world to a screeching halt.
While the world has paused for a mere moment in time and the initial shock waves have somewhat worn off, feelings of isolation fatigue and uncertainty can and have taken their toll and it can be hard to keep spirits up. Thankfully, it’s a collective boat that the world community finds itself in, and one that the Depot Artspace staff, volunteers, community and especially our exhibitors have adapted to with gusto.
Life happens, and our Depot Artspace exhibitors have been no exception to this rule. Having been only three months into the hope of a new year when COVID-19 struck, our exhibitors began to (rightfully) drop out, and either had to postpone, reschedule or cancel their exhibitions. The combination of uncertainty, physical restrictions and eventual quarantine of all non-essential businesses and workers eventually became insurmountable, and thus the ‘new normal’ was born.
Traditionally, most artworks are made with the intention of being seen in person and are meant to viewed in real life. While there is no substitute for viewing artworks in real life and key to the experience of viewing art is the social connections and interactions made, the Depot has worked hard to create virtual cultural bridges to bring the art online, a first for the Depot Artspace.
We remain committed to our community and exhibitors, and maintaining well-being in our immediate exhibitor whanau became a top priority. We are indeed very lucky that the Depot Artspace’s currency is already a very well-established and deeply rooted practice in the ethos of community, so we were already well equipped.
No one gets through life without some form of pain, irritation and disappointment, and the disappointment we felt for our exhibitors was palpable. The unseen bubbles of hard work, blood, sweat, tears and sleepless nights our exhibitors faced in collating their exhibitions had suddenly burst. Thankfully, it has been reassuring to know that even though we are physically distanced, socially we are more interconnected than ever thanks to the ease of digital technology. Pandemic schmandemic.
While the ‘new normal’ will continue to present its own unique and ongoing set of challenges, it will also force us to regroup harder, think smarter and remember the basics of why it is we do what we do.
I am consistently reminded of the Maori proverb; He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata. What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.
Tracey Kitchingman (Depot Artspace Gallery Manager)