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'Social distancing' artwork going on display across Coventry

A local artist’s ‘social distancing’ artwork will be showcased across Coventry to highlight the importance of staying safe during the pandemic.

Coventry City of Culture Trust, with the One Coventry Partnership – a group of public, private and voluntary sector organisations – has commissioned artist and graphic designer, Lewis Spencer, to create a series of original artworks to highlight the importance of social distancing, Coventry’s response to Coronavirus and the impact on the city.

'Social distancing' artwork going on display across Coventry

Lewis is a multi-disciplinary Coventry artist and creative producer and has been working over recent weeks to create the artwork which will be displayed on billboards across the city. The graphics will also feature on lamppost banners, buses and social media.

He said: “This has truly been an amazing experience and I have enjoyed every minute of creating work for my city. 

“My initial starting point for my submission to Our New Normal was to create designs that interacted with the city’s architecture and doubled up as infographics about the city whilst still promoting social distancing.

“I wanted to incorporate Coventry’s monuments and Coventry’s people to capture the city’s youthful spirit, which led me to do more research and tap into the history and archives.

“The messages displayed on the posters are intended to be playful and heartfelt, bringing a bit of joy in these strange, anxious times.

“I typically work on different forms from paintings and installations through to events and exhibitions in public spaces and I have also been working to produce a free events and arts listing magazine for Coventry called Secret Knock Zine, collaborating with over 20 artists.”

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director of City of Culture Trust, said: “As UK City of Culture, we wanted to put artists at the heart of how we keep communicating about social distancing.

“Lewis has created a series of iconic artworks which you will see across the city’s skyline in coming days and weeks.

“We’re an inventive and creative city, so these artworks show how our City of Culture can respond to this pandemic, moving people to keep observing social distancing.”

The West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Waheed Saleem said: “It’s great to be able to support young, local artists who are playing a vital role in inspiring hope in communities through this difficult time.

“Social distancing is going to be important for months to come and ensuring that we explain it in various ways to reach all parts of our community is key.

“This artwork will be a great addition to the city. By adhering to social distancing measures we can make sure that people can keep safe.”

Councillor Kamran Caan, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport, said: “It’s important that the social distancing measures and stay safe messaging remains in the forefront of people’s minds as we all look to move forward together as a city over the coming months.

“To assist in the reinforcing of the messaging to our local communities, the artworks will act as a timely visual reminder to users and visitors in and around Coventry.”

Pictured - Left to right: Helen Kirkman, Chief Inspector West Midlands Police; Valerie De Souza, Public Health Consultant for Coventry City Council; Artist Lewis Spencer; Waheed Saleem, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner West Midlands; Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director for UK City of Culture 2021

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