As part of the Keep Wales Safe campaign, Nathan Wyburn’s latest project is inspired by the reasons people across Wales are staying motivated to abide by COVID-19 restrictions.
Ebbw Vale-born artist Nathan Wyburn is known for his use of non-traditional materials to create artwork and unique portrayals of figures in popular culture. In 2020, Wyburn created a tribute to the NHS made using photographs of healthcare workers, and contributed to the We Make Events Global Day of Action with a digital Welsh flag collage. His most recent project, in support of the Welsh Government’s Keep Wales Safe campaign, continues this theme by transforming people’s motivations for keeping COVID-19 case numbers down into a portrait of a mask-wearing figure.
“My main inspiration to do this project was the idea of bringing people together after what has been quite an isolating time for many,” Wyburn explained.
As the latest coronavirus lockdown comes to an end and COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease across the country, the emphasis is shifting towards what people are able to do whilst keeping themselves safe. A recent YouGov study showed that in Wales, the biggest incentive for following the rules is to be able to meet with family and friends, with 64% of those surveyed stating this as what they look forward to most when restrictions are eased further.
Having asked his social media followers about what they are most looking forward to, Wyburn found similar results: “a huge amount of the reasons were related to seeing loved ones,” he said. Using the text of the responses he gathered, Wyburn created his thought-provoking portrait, which represents what can be achieved if people continue to behave responsibly and follow the government guidelines.
Wyburn hopes that his artwork will “make people feel less alone,” and act as an incentive for the people of Wales to continue wearing masks, socially distancing, washing their hands and only mixing with others in appropriate places. “This has been a challenging time for everybody, and I hope that the piece reminds people of the things we can do if we just keep going.”