12 September – 12 December 2020
This exhibition honoured the true heroes of the Covid-19 pandemic – the people who put their own safety at risk to look after us all.
The exhibition ran from September 12 and was due to close on November 6, but with a new lockdown introduced from November 4 and set to run until early December it seemed only right to extend this highly relevant exhibition until the start of the Christmas show on December 12.
As in the earlier lockdown the gallery remained open, not least because we physically couldn’t close it, but visitors were requested to observe social distancing ie one visitor at a time and to wash their hands before and after their visit.
Many of the portraits in Frontline faces were of friends and former colleagues of the Settle-based artist Julie Sobczak. Some were local, including a sheep farmer and his dog, but reflecting the fact that this is a global pandemic, they also included people that Julie had met during her extensive travels, that included a spell working as a midwife in the Cayman Islands.
Among the images was one of a group of musicians from New York who entertained neighbours during lockdown – the lead musician James Palmaro, who has been blind for forty years, is a long- time friend of Julie’s. You can read more about him here: James Palmaro
Another image was of a policeman and his dog from New Zealand: they work with another of Julie’s friends and have been featured in a piece on this exhibition in the New Zealand police magazine (see posting in the Gallery in the News section). Naturally health care workers in their protective gear featured in many of the images. And reflecting Julie’s time as a midwife there was a picture of a family and their new born child with the midwife.
As an artist, Julie has previously worked mainly with watercolours but has more recently has embraced the wizardry of technology to create these digital paintings, based on photographs, that strive not only to capture a likeness – but also give an insight into subject’s personality.
Julie says: “Thank you to all frontline workers. Your tireless efforts are not going unnoticed.” Fifty percent of donations made to the gallery during this exhibition will go to NHS Charities Together.
You can read more about Julie’s work at the website www.digitalartbrush.com