New film shares life in lockdown for artists with Down's syndrome

Heart & Sold is a global arts organisation that represents, promotes and supports visual artists with Down's syndrome. Today it has released a compelling new film that shines a light on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its community.

Artists in Lockdown has been created by filmmaker Chris Kenward (whose brother David is featured in the film) and produced by Heart & Sold. It explores the lives of fifteen visual artists from seven different countries, looking at how they have continued to make art during this challenging time.

The film sensitively delves into how these artists have adapted while at home and how this period of forced isolation has impacted their work and wellbeing. Those featured include Northern Ireland based visual artist, Ryan Bogues who turned his photography skills to baking and created, Not All Superheroes Wear Capes Thank You Hampers, for his local NHS workers. We also discover more about Somerset-based photographer Oliver Hellowell who used a reflection pool and makeshift studio in his garden at home to attract his favourite subject – birds.

There's Cornwall-based visual artist Rory Davies who retreated into his art after feeling overwhelmed with worry about the coronavirus. And Brazilian photographer Mohamed Dalloul who had stopped practising in lockdown before his family encouraged him to photograph everyday objects and the view from his apartment to create a new series of work. We also meet Texas-based painter Charlie French who created a unique collection of work entitled, No Virus Here, from his home studio.

Suzie Moffat, the founder of Heart & Sold, says: "Artists in Lockdown aims to document an important moment in history, offers a glimpse into their worlds and the impact this forced period of isolation has had on our artists. It is in times of crisis or stress we often turn to creativity to see us through, and this film reflects that.

"Art allows us to lose ourselves, express ourselves or simply distract ourselves from what's going on in the world, and we've seen our artists do this with breathtaking intensity. In the words of our artist Andrew Weatherly – 'be happy, stay positive and most importantly be inspired'."

Down's syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, is a genetic condition caused by the presence of an extra copy of chromosome 21 in all or some of the cells, which results in some level of learning disability. To support the artists working with Heart & Sold, visit www.heartandsold.org.uk.