Renowned art curator Ekow Eshun has been appointed to oversee the co-creation of a modern tapestry for the UK Covid-19 Inquiry that will capture the experiences and emotions of people across the UK during the pandemic. Ekow is Chairman of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, overseeing one of the UK’s foremost public art programmes.
Ekow will curate the tapestry, which will feature panels produced by different artists over the coming months. The Inquiry is working with a range of organisations and individuals across the UK to identify stories to inspire each panel.
The first panels will be unveiled at the public hearings starting on 13 June.
Tapestry curator Ekow Eshun said:
“I am honoured to curate the commemorative tapestry.
“Throughout history tapestries have been used to mark the moments that change us, telling our stories and commemorating the impact on millions of people’s lives.
“The pandemic put an unimaginable strain on the fabric of our society, our communities and our families. My hope is that this tapestry will weave the threads of these stories, across the nations and regions, into a lasting tribute.
“I am particularly grateful to the individuals and communities who are working with artists to share their experiences. I’m looking forward to seeing the tapestry come to life and continue to grow as more stories are told, and I hope it will speak to a range of experiences and emotions – from pain and loss to courage, hope and devotion.”
Baroness Heather Hallett, Inquiry Chair, said:
“I am delighted to be working with curator Ekow Eshun. When I opened the Inquiry I set out the importance of commemorating the hardship and loss that so many people in the UK suffered. I will continue to do my very best to ensure the Inquiry recognises the life-changing impact of the pandemic.
“Many public inquiries have commemorated those who suffered and died as a result of the tragedy they are investigating. The tapestry is a fitting way to capture individual and shared stories so that the experiences of those who suffered hardship and loss are at the heart of the Inquiry’s proceedings.”
Delia Bryce, from the Scottish Covid Bereaved group, said:
“I lost my Da’ in February 2021 to Covid-19. Nothing prepares you for the loss of a much-loved parent especially, when the world as I knew it was unrecognisable.
“The tapestry is something I felt very privileged to do. I look forward to seeing the finished tapestry and I hope those that see it in years to come will understand why it’s important our loved ones lost to Covid-19 should never be forgotten.”
Sammie Mcfarland, from Long Covid Kids, said:
“For the thousands suffering, Long Covid is an unseen shadow hanging over family life. We hope the tapestry will weave our experiences together into a visible representation that documents the appalling harm to children.
“Our wish is that the tapestry raises awareness of this complex condition and lessons are learned for the future protection of children.”
Andrew Crummy, one of the artists working on the project said:
“It’s a privilege to be involved in such an important project. As a community based artist, working with bereaved families to help give voice to their stories has been a real honour. My hope is that together, we can use art to tell their stories and commemorate all those affected by the pandemic.”
Bristol-based weavers, Dash and Miller, will create the tapestry with care and attention to detail, using traditional weaving techniques. The yarns making up the tapestry will be sourced from all four nations of the UK.
The tapestry will also be shown in different locations throughout the UK whilst the Inquiry’s work is ongoing. The Inquiry’s website will provide digital access to the tapestry as well as the stories and artists that inspired each panel. We plan to add more panels over time, so this tapestry reflects the scale and impact the pandemic had on different communities.