Westminster Resident Creates Huge Lockdown Sculpture From Upcycled Wood
Social distancing and ‘stay at home’ measures have taken their toll on the nation and many people are experiencing feelings of loneliness from self-isolation.
Mercedes Uribe-Gutierrez is no different. But she has a coping strategy:
70-year-old Westminster resident and sculpture artist Mercedes Uribe-Gutierrez has created a lockdown art project “big enough to demand attention away from negative thoughts of being socially isolated”.
Mercedes found strength in knowing that although we are all socially distancing alone, we are ‘all in this together’ and wanted to express these feelings through her art installation.
Passionate about creative expression using ‘found objects’, Mercedes has used the back wooden panels of her wardrobe to create little figurine sculptures shaped in the letters of the alphabet.
In total she has created 1426 little relief figurine letters that are around 10cm in height and treated 8 times to form the body language alphabet. It has taken 8 weeks to put together as a striking art installation on her bedroom wall, forming the words to the famous poem ‘Desiderata’. The full installation is 3 metres wide and 2.5 metres tall.
She has since rearranged more letters to form her own Lockdown poem ‘Where is Everybody Gone?’ which has also featured on a wall in her home.
Mercedes would like to display her art installation free of charge in a hospital, art gallery or museum for a period of time.
In addition to creating the artwork, Mercedes is now receiving telephone 1-2-1 micro-business sessions from the Women Off to Work (WoW) team at the Abbey Community Association Limited (ACAL), Westminster. She will be setting up a social enterprise to create recycled art from ‘found objects’ in and around Westminster, donating tribute pieces to local surgeries, schools and council buildings. A GoFundMe page has been set to raise funds. Mercedes has also been supported by Open Age, where she is a member.
Mercedes Uribe-Gutierrez, ‘All in This Together’ Lockdown Sculpture Creator stated: “I have never had a project that I have loved so much. I created each figurine as individuals, but they’re ‘all in this together’ to create a flow of words into sentences with meaning. It is a representation of us all during lockdown- each of us with individual circumstances but when we collectively all stay at home or offer our skills on the frontline, we are showing that we’re all in this fight together.”
Sascha Layne, WoW Microbusiness and Self-Employment Development Worker at ACAL commented, “I have found great pleasure in seeing Mercedes transform her creative ideas into striking works of art. I am happy to give her the guidance she needs to use her creative skills to create revenue streams for social good. Her positivity, resilience and strength coupled with her desire to benefit the Westminster community are admirable.”
We are encouraging curators, art managers and anyone responsible for acquiring art in London hospitals, galleries, museums or schools to get in touch to find out more about having the art installation temporarily displayed in their institution. There is also the buying option with 50% of the proceeds going to charity.
Mercedes Uribe-Gutierrez is also available for press interviews via zoom which can feature a live viewing of the art installation in her home.
Mercedes Uribe-Gutierrez is a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors and a retired Art Trainer. Her work has been featured in many successful art exhibitions over the years. In 2016 she was winner of the First London Sustainable Community Award at Chelsea College of Art for her artwork ‘Churchill Gardens Tree’.
For more information visit https://mercedesuribegutierrez.wordpress.com/
The Abbey Community Centre & Association runs the Women Off to Work (WoW) project, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. The WoW project helps women in Westminster to set up their own businesses or find work by delivering workshops, courses and 1-2-1 advice sessions. The WoW team are now offering 1-2-1 sessions over the telephone to continue to help clients with setting up a business, access online courses and find work during lockdown.
For more information visit https://www.theabbeycentre.org.uk/women-off-to-work/