When in lockdown exhibition

brown papaer letter with white and green painting embellishments


When in Lockdown

As trying as our experiences of living in lockdown has been, it’s also enabled many of us to reconnect with our immediate family, to enjoy our homes, have long chats with friends over the phone or video call, play games, get into the garden, discover new films and television series, to cook and to read.

It’s also been a time to create and make. Artists of all types across the world are producing work that will undoubtedly speak to and bear the marks of the unique historical moment that is the global COVID-19 pandemic.

To help document our community’s experiences of living through this crisis, we invited artists, writers, musicians and performers who live, work or play in Manningham to share the artworks they made under lockdown.

This exhibition of artworks depict or interpret all that is mundane, boring and difficult about the lockdown, as well as all that is enjoyable about it, all that is quaint and novel and that we may only experience in this moment. They also speak to the COVID-19 crisis more directly, to the anxieties created by the pandemic, the things we’ve lost or may lose as a result of it, or it may speak to your hopes for the future post-crisis. All in all, they are a poignant reflection of a remarkable historical moment.

Participants were asked "how does this artwork speak to your experience of living through the COVID-19 pandemic?"





Rebecca Vincent
Iso Series
Acrylic and ink

"My artwork series titled Iso depicts the challenges surrounding mental health during the lockdown. Watching my only daughter in isolation not being able to see friends or family and not being able to fix the situation. My art reflects the total hopelessness and mental fatigue. I believe my Art definitely helped me get through these times. It was my only therapy."


Adrienne Aw Imaginary Surroundings
Ink on paper

"During lockdown, I was very stressed and frustrated. I missed many travelling opportunities and visiting friends and relatives and since there was nothing much to do at home I focused on drawing. I always loved drawing imaginary things and beautiful landscapes. This was very therapeutic for me as it helped calm my soul."

"The pandemic and lockdown had impacted me in ways that I didn't know. I got to explore my art style and skills. I mostly drew imaginary landscapes, nature, people etc. as a way to connect to the outside world and to normalise the situation that we are in."

"Since travelling and seeing places was what I missed mostly during the lockdowns, I drew a lot of landscape sketches and put a lot of detail in them. By doing this, I get to be more creative and productive, it also helped pass time. My artworks depicts my longing to travel/connect and also the ability to create something beautiful in this chaotic and dark period."



Zahra Marsous
Untitled from the series From Within to the Horizon
Ink on paper

"A new happening in human life may have various impressions, whether a good one or not. The occurrence of Covid-19 has been an unexpected and unpleasant happening for all the world. While resulting in mental and physical health issues and sadly having taken many lives, the consequences of this pandemic in the course of last year have changed human life in an informative and positive way. For instance, despite the considerable scientific developments, it has proved that it is not ready to protect human lives against a new disease."
"Following this incapability has come the disturbance in millions’ everyday routine in all areas. My personal learned lesson is that life should not be seen as a fixed and inflexible essence, so we should always consider alternatives for unusual events. Personally, as an artist who has experienced a different situation in life and professional career following immigration, the pandemic has had both positive and negative influences."
"To describe the issue shortly, I can mention communication with new people, participation in social events and a paid job (as a source of income) as necessities that have unfavourably suffered. On the other hand, since routine preoccupations had stolen our moments, more free time to spend by ourselves has been the by-product of the new era for me and many others. The opportunity offered me more time to learn progressively and find new ideas to create my works. So, I levered pictures collected before the lockdown and have created the present drawing collection."


Al Turley
The Upside of Covid
Written poem

"Covid 19 compelled me to consider my lifestyle and to adapt to new technology and social changes. I think I am the better for it."

At age 85 I came alive
The day that Covid struck
I was retired but mostly just tired
In ennui I seemed to be stuck
‘Can’t keep me in’ was part of my spin
And I started to shout
My wife’s in aged care I need to be there
You can’t keep me in I want out
Despite the pain it was all in vain
They wouldn’t let me near
The time seemed ripe to learn to use Skype
We could see each other and hear
I thought I would buy or at least try
To get some goods online
Tested my EFTPOS that was a loss
A credit card would have been fine
Now I get round to friends I’ve found
I’ll never go back to before
Across the range I made lots of change
Though I don’t use cash any more


Stephanie Ristovski
Lifeless Impressionism
Acrylic on canvas

"One of a series of three artworks that capture the beauty of nature represented by a form of Impressionism that captures the boring and mundane society created during the COVID-19 lockdown. The series explores the lifeless streets and lack of personality exhibited without human presence. It also displays the struggle of business owners without consumer presence. Whilst capturing the deserted places, colour has been used to return life and character to bring attention to the importance of landscapes we live in, hoping to bring appreciation to the planet we live on."


Lucy Maddox
Oil on canvas

"Holding explores the contradictory feelings brought on by lockdown. In this period of extreme isolation, we are desperate for connection while afraid of being touched. The work examines the strength and pain experienced during this time, and the darker elements of the painting act as a memento mori; this pandemic has been a clear reminder of our fragility."


Yinghong Li
Ceramic and glazes

“My artwork Touch represents the ‘social distancing’ restrictions during COVID-19. Even though there were no visits and hugs, and masks were on, the care and love between people always existed.”


Ed Wakeham
Traffic Light With Distant Horizon
Acrylic on canvas

“For me one of the things that created equilibrium during the Stage 4 lockdown was being able to get out to a park once a day and look out towards the horizon. In some ways it was a wonderful time to reconnect with nature and enjoy the interplay between the sky, the clouds and the beautiful monolithic shape of Mt Dandenong. It has made many of the other challenges of this era a bit easier - by focusing on some of the eternal aspects of Melbourne as a place. It has been important for me to look at simple objects of everyday life and find beauty in the design, and that is something that I try to emphasise in my work, along with the spatial aspects of this - despite the empty streets, parks and public spaces there is still a tremendous grandeur to where we live.”


Jacinta Payne
Renewal Begins, and the Bush Breathes Again
Mixed media artwork and poem

“My artwork is made only from materials I had at home. The chicken wire is a reference to being locked down yet also interconnected. The sturdy and extra thick cardboard substrate was packaging from our piano, and sadly it would actually be highly sought after for some people in the world, who only have cardboard scraps to sleep on. How privileged we are, yet how easily we can also be struck down by this virus, COVID-19. This ties back to the wire, and our interconnected human lives. The eucalypt branch was collected from our yard after a wind storm and represents my love of the bush and my desire to tread as lightly as possible on the earth. The painting itself is a 'bushscape'. My happy place. Tangled undergrowth that will continue to regrow, regardless of whether the earth is habitable for humankind or not. I wrote a kind of poem just after I finished the painting. I'm not a writer by any means but the words just formed as part of the creative process and needed to be written down and included in the artwork.”

Renewal begins, and the bush breathes again,
Emerging in an all encompassing sigh of relief.
Blackened burnt bushland.
Interconnecting lines.
Our lives connected and disconnected at once;
Confusion. Lost Souls. Now social distance.
The hope of renewal
Reconnection with the earth
Nature's inevitable recovery; all is not lost
Take heed of old tribal ways, and the voices of the trees
Time to rethink
Society of change
Listen to the ancient ones, and also to the young
For human existence depends on Mother Nature,
Not the other way.
She is not broken
She will prevail
Respect her
Let her be herself as the First Peoples did
And all will be as it should.


Heather Peberdy

“COVIDface is one of 40 portraits that I’ve painted since we were first in lockdown in early February. It depicts one of my grandsons talking to me on FaceTime expressing his frustrations about COVID restrictions and not going to school.”


Annie Edney
This Breathing Biosphere and a Dialogue with Self in Isolation
Ink on paper

“A Dialogue with Self in Isolation
What does the human species do in response to an unprecedented global event? There are no recognisable patterns of knowing. How do we move forward from here? We seem to be at the mercy of unknowable, untouchable forces; elements of weird dangers. I have been imagining the best possible outcome, and I believe it's that we, as a species, change our relationship with the planet that is our home; reimagine our human relationship with the more-than-human sentient natural world.

What does that feel like?

How do we experience an exchange with a tree?

How do we communicate with a bird?

How do we open our perception to include more than a human conversation spoken in English?

My Lockdown work is an intimate examination of a different perception. A visual interpretation of another way of sensing.”


Melisa Savickas
Woman with Sky
Digital photograph

“I was taking images of people at their homes, behind barriers like windows and doors, during the first lockdown period. ‘Woman with Sky’ is an image of a woman looking out her window at a beautiful sunset, where all is quiet, as nobody is leaving their homes to go out. She sees the quiet views of the street and wonders about the next days ahead."


Irma Koulouris Geraniums are Underrated
Pencil, gouache, and digital editing

"Staying within my radius has provided me with an opportunity to re-examine and re-appreciate domestic suburban spaces. Restrictions have provided me with time to observe gardens and houses within my vicinity in a new way. The Geranium is a symbol, an often overlooked one, of Melburnian gardens. It is very nostalgic, with an indescribable warm, potent scent that is unlike anything else. The viridescent camouflage is everywhere and we never notice it. An ode to the Geranium."


Tasmina Majles
State of Mind
Line drawings

"The current challenging times of COVID-19 has influenced my creative practice immensely. I became more mindful of my own psychological state and well-being. I started observing and entering my own thought process and journaling them through art representations. These artworks capture my own struggles and emotional journey through these times, and give life to my story. The art depiction puts a lens on the importance of being mindful of one's own state of mind and how that brings positivity to the surroundings."


Claudio Cantelli Lockdown
Pencil on paper

“During the lockdown we had to teach our grandchildren, it has been a great experience! My artwork is inspired by this moment.”


Kate Collins
Lonely Park
Digital photograph

“The piece titled 'Lonely Park' shows that places that are normally bustling with life were deserted due to the pandemic.”


Ned Hatch
Heads Will Roll
Oil pastels on toilet paper, cotton stitching

"This work was made at the height of the panic buying. At the time toilet paper was in high demand and there were large sections of the supermarket aisles that had been stripped of this product. I wanted to make something that responded to this phenomenon."


Wash Your Hands
Clay, paint, glitter paint

"We always need to wash our hands but my mum says we need to wash our hands even more these days because we don’t want to catch the coronavirus."


Alan Mak
Changing Times
Biro, whiteout on paper

“The achievement of humanity has allowed us to do many things. Flying gives us fantastic opportunities to travel, to learn, to experience and to see. The virus has so far changed that for us. Many plans are put on hold, I long for the time again to be able to move around freely, to explore and learn. The drawings here give me some reminder and also hope that one day we can all do that again. One drawing shows one of the largest type of modern passenger plane currently flying which sadly may be retired due to current economic climate exasperated by the virus. The second drawing is of the modern jet engine from a 747-8F cargo plane, the last of the four engine aircraft and soon to be retired also in favour more efficient planes. These cargo planes that have been in storage are being revived to fly cargo around the world due to the reduction of passenger flights, to transport essentials around the world. I have always been fascinated by the airplane. I often imagine and wonder about all the different people and cargo they carry on board, which connects and bring joy to so many people in faraway places.”


Eliza Jung
But I am One with the House and the House is with Me
Digital print

"I've been working from home since the start of March. As my workplace prepares to re-open and we work out the logistics of going back to work, I find myself feeling anxious about leaving home. I have illustrated a section of my living space, where I have embedded a cartoonish figment of myself. I hoped to convey the new found attachment to my home space as well as my fear of re-joining the 'normal' after months of being in isolation."


Maria Papandony
Corona Emotional Lockdown River Flow
Acrylic on canvas

“At the start of the pandemic the river flowed with clear water and not lots of knowledge of what to expect... at the bottom of the river the water becomes muddy and dark! It seems there is no end to this lockdown and feelings are worsening as time goes by...”


Maria Papandony
Watercolour on paper

“During lockdown I got more time to spend at home looking at my garden and appreciating nature. I also spent more time with my dog and realised he is already 14 years old.”


Myra Carter
Return to Calm
Acrylic on canvas

“When I painted Return to Calm I wanted to paint something that evoked a feeling of being calm to function as a small oasis in the turbulent times we are all facing right now. Using soft neutral colours with little pops of blue and aqua this painting has a gentle and nurturing energy. It has many layers of colour and texture. I used a variety of mark making tools along with rounded shapes and hidden surprises.”


Corinne Young
Billy Button Dreamscape
Oil on board

"This was painted during the lock-down 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."


Lindy Yeates
Shearwater Update - COVID-19
April 2020
Hand coloured linocut and stencil

“Our son needed to self-isolate in our Donvale home during March/April 2020 following his trip to the UK so my husband and I headed to Cape Woolamai on Phillip Island to stay at our holiday house for a couple of weeks. As the world of COVID-19 locked down around us and signs went up all over the island imploring us to ‘stay safe and stay home’, the 600,000 or more shearwater birds on the Cape were preparing for international travel; a migratory journey taken each year in April along the Asian Australasian Flyway - 15,000kms from Victoria to Alaska. As Government restrictions intensified throughout April, a little light humour made for good medicine so I imagined the Victorian Government trying to control the flight of these courageous, little migratory birds using COVID19 updates that stressed our Stage 3 travel restrictions. In the end, a sign intended for the residents of Phillip Island said it all, ‘Stay safe, stay home, be kind to each other’.”


Richard Young
The Mob Gathering
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 inclusive of 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."


Isobel Goodman
A Letter to My Friend
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. For me, I was beginning my studio in art school but then we went into lock down 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."


Peta Tranquille
Sunday Afternoon Stroll
Acrylic on wood panel

"One part of the CBD that I enjoy is when I have the opportunity to walk along the Yarra River at Birrarung Marr. It's usually buzzing with walkers, runners, and sometimes there are lots of festivals and food trucks. I don't remember a time when it was empty and void of life. To negate that I chose bright and bold colours to represent this magnificent location."


Meredith Plain
Iso Cycle

"During lockdown I have been busy in the studio and some aspects of this unprecedented time have found their way into my work. We have all been flocking to the parks to exercise, which is one of the few reasons for us to get out of the house. I have also spent a lot of time cycling along some of our wonderful trails, and have been struck by how many people, particularly families, are doing the same. For those of us fortunate to be living along the Yarra this has been one of the positive outcomes of the pandemic – it has been family time, time to connect with nature, and we have had regular exercise."


Darya Khatami Mashhadi
Oil on canvas

"My painting ‘Hope’ is talking about lockdown limits, about simple things that we all had but never thought how valuable they are. To move on living we had to use masks, filters and obstacles, but the most important fact was that ‘hope’ has always been there and always will be. In the worst situations, hope is the only thing keeping us moving and we can learn this lesson from our beautiful planet who, even though we as human beings are slowly destroying her, keeps giving birth, repairing and renovating and giving to us generously. She encapsulates hope."