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Following the huge success of the Poppy Challenge in 2018, which commemorated the end of the First World War, we want to invite people across the UK to paint or draw a sunflower and upload the image to create a permanent memorial to those affected by the virus. Why did we choose the sunflower? This particular bloom has been chosen for its positivity, for the way it turns to face the sun, looking forward to more optimistic times. The giant sunflower was also worshipped by the Incas whilst sunflower seeds were placed at the graves of those who had passed. This flower is also linked to values such as loyalty and longevity.
We aim to invite everyone to take part; the young and old, amateur and professional artists. Through our schools, clubs, care homes and businesses, we want to create an art-based memorial to show how every person who has died during this time, is not a number but a special individual. We want to bring light and sunshine back into the lives of those left behind, and to create a lasting memorial to those who have passed. We recognise that this ambitious project will highlight the grief and sadness of our current situation. So, we want to make sure the site also provides support and guidance for those in need. Our vision includes content and signposting for grief counselling and raising awareness of mental health, as well as the beneficial effect that art has on wellbeing. To kick off the campaign, we asked artists whose work is featured in this issue of Paint, to paint a sunflower for your inspiration. The above stunning painting is by Trudy Harman, uploading your own painting is easy and you can also add a short story, name and picture of the person you are remembering, if your painting is of the more personal nature. The aim is that this act as a memorial to all those who have been affected and died during this time, whilst also being a national archive to record the social history of this crisis. But we can only do this with your help. Spread the word, get painting and creating and contribute to this special cause.
Simply click on ‘Enter Challenge’ at the top of this page and follow the instructions from there.
Entries must be your own work. If you have used another artists’ painting, tuition or photograph as your inspiration, please ensure you have gained the appropriate authorisation to publish the image and be sure to credit them accordingly – for example ‘after a painting by…’ or ‘from a photograph of…’