Cash Aspeek

Being

A photographic and public art project addressing social isolation and mental health issues. Through self-made PPE garments, the artist aims to reduce the perceived risk and enable her daughter, who has recently been diagnosed with autism and has been willingly self isolating for the past four years, to access the outside world.

“This prolonged self-isolation has impacted on motherhood……….. as my daughter’s friendships have  fallen away, I also find my own support networks slip.” 

….in a void, in my own circle, loop the loop, going around in circles, hopping from place to place……

Freya’s fantasy is to be alone in the middle of nowhere, however her mind creates too many obstacles. The suit allowed her to access that fantasy, she enjoyed the performance even though, at times her anxiety made the process challenging. To begin with I was thinking of PPE relating to the current Coronavirus pandemic, however as the project evolved I realised that PPE, in the form of Bunker Gear also protects against environmental extremes and armour protects against attacks from people. Freya feels she needs both.

It took time beyond the garment, planning and emotional labour to make sure Freya was feeling comfortable venturing outside the house.

Over the course of 3 months they visited Deptford Beach, Thames Estuary, Oxleas Wood, St Mary’s Bay and The Stephen Lawrence Centre in Deptford.

“Do you think, now with this pandemic, people will understand a little what it is like for me? Being aware of the people around you, especially when you’re outside and being uncomfortable with any human contact”. Freya

This is the final image chosen by the artist and her daughter. It will be displayed in 2021 as a large format print in Lewisham, London. It will be a reminder of the social isolation we have all experienced during the pandemic and aims to raise awareness around mental health issues.

The work is part of the Procreate Project commission 2020 round supported by Arts Council Emergency Response funds.