When in Lockdown inspires eye-catching art

4 Jun 2020
Liveable Places and Spaces

Manningham Art Gallery’s new When in Lockdown art initiative has been firing the imaginations of local artists and aspiring creatives, with several eye-catching pieces already submitted by artists that capture their experience living and working in lockdown.

Here are a selection of the submitted works so far, with each accompanying artist’s statement.


Checkered and bright colour block on canvas

Peta Tranquille, Chequered Flag, 2020, acrylic on wood panel

My niece and her partner were visiting Melbourne, from Perth, to see the F1 at Albert Park. They were both very excited as her partner had been waiting for years to attend for the first time. A few days after they arrived it was announced that the race was cancelled and I remember feeling so disappointed for them. This piece represents that moment and making it to the finish line.


Square painting of bare tree branches in foreground and green crops landscape in background

Corinne Young, Billy Button Dreamscape, 2020, oil on canvas  

This was painted during the lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic. For me personally, on one level nothing much has changed since 2015 when I sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury. I have not been able to work or drive since then. My brain gets easily overwhelmed due to movement, noise and lights, making shopping and socialising in groups very difficult. I started to paint as part of my rehabilitation. Through continued recovery, painting has become a love and passion for me, I call it healing art. My art is inspired by nature and living in Templestowe, I am lucky to be walking distance to the Main Yarra Trail where much of my work is drawn from. ‘Billy Button Dreamscape’ was inspired from those quiet sunny days and thinking how lucky we are to have the clear air we do. I hope we will see some focus on longer term actions to address climate change and look after our environment in a sustainable way. Seeing as we couldn’t get to the high country this year, we planted some Billy Buttons (Craspedia) in our garden. I love how the mind wonders when you are just on the cusp of dozing off. Particularly during the day with the sun encouraging that deep relaxation state…and then it has won and your mind lets go further and further…until you’re…dreaming…and you can drift around the most beautiful places – like this – the dreamy intersection of our Templestowe yard and the Alpines National Park.


brown papaer letter with white and green painting embellishments

Isobel Goodman, A letter to my friend, 2020, acrylic paint, pencil on paper

During this Covid-19 crisis I have been writing letters to my friends around the world through snail mail. From America to Switzerland, I have heard all of their stories and experiences with the virus. As for me, I was beginning my studio in art school but then we went into lockdown and my course became online. I remember thinking that it 'didn't feel real'. Peoples’ behaviour changed and Australian life actually went upside-down. But that's nothing compared to my friends overseas. This piece is an envelope dedicated to my friends. I decided to make a Greek sculpture with a face mask to represent the caution and fear that drove people to purchase ridiculous amounts of food, toilet paper and sanitiser. The white pupils in the eyes demonstrate the media’s influence on this over-consumption, almost like a screen showing the virus around him to a dramatic level.


blue and black splatters and drips on canvas

Richard Young, The mob gathering, 2020, acrylic on canvas

As Aboriginal people, cultural and social isolation is not new. Our people have been socially isolated and social distancing has been practised against our people since the segregation policy days. This piece is about how our people gather in a spiritual realm. Whilst we are physically separated we are still connected in the spiritual realms; it’s like we know what's happening with one another even though we are not physically able to be together.


flat wood carvings to make a canvas of flowers

Yanwen Huang, untitled wood veneer marquetry flower designs, 2020

Stay at home, work in the garden and enjoy flowers.

To see more of the submitted works, follow our Arts Manningham Facebook page. If you’d like to submit a work, visit When in Lockdown. A curated selection of works will be exhibited at the Manningham Art Gallery in 2021, in a post-pandemic exhibition.