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Cheri O'Donnell
The Architecture of Winter and Summer

During this lockdown I have not been in isolation because I worked as an essential worker and I live with someone who worked during all the lockdown. I’m very lucky that when I was stood down (for a short time) that I could access my holiday pay and didn’t need Centrelink or my Super.


A lot of artists have multiple jobs to support themselves, their families, and art career. There are select few artists who can practice their art full time in Australia. There was a discussion before Covid-19 on the lack support of the arts in Australia, and this discussion will continue as Australian society realises the value of art and culture during this crisis. For me, juggling multiple jobs, an art career, and a child, has given me the skills of self-discipline. I have used these skills during this short time off -  to make art and to manage home-schooling a teenager.


I have been working on an upcoming exhibition, The Architecture of Winter and Summer. The exhibition is an exploration of how the seasons - winter and summer effect tourism in the Gippsland and Alpine regions. East Gippsland and the Alpine regions were and still are, greatly affected by the summer bushfires and I have incorporated the bushfires into the summer part of the show.  I will be monitoring how Covid 19 effects the ski season and economy with the lack of tourism. After all this, I am almost thinking of renaming the showing Staycation during the Apocalypse, because of social isolation and staying home during the school holidays.

During this time, I have still been engaged in the East Gippsland art community and I have put artwork in the upcoming O+W Exhibition in the Slipway Space Lakes Entrance. This is a new space that has opened during these times, so support it and check out the space!


I have also used this time to study up business skills and I have been exploring how to take my art practice into online space. I am in the process of pivoting my art practice from IRL (in real life) into the online. Collaboration is a major part of my art practice, and most of that interaction currently comes from the physical (art festivals, market stalls, Art happenings and exhibitions). I now must move into the online world. I am hoping to expand from Instagram into more Interesting online spaces.


As you are reading this, you may be wondering –  wait, are artists all introverted hermits in a sealed up studio, already isolating before Covid 19? Not me! I am one of those Mythical Unicorn Artists that is an extrovert and who likes people interaction! Do not worry about me coping, as I always cope with life with a sense of humour. As things open again, slowly I will be glad to talk to humans instead of my dog, with whom I've been binge watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race and Tiger King (the popular cultural phenomenon during our weird times). So, to the East Gippsland Art Community (Creatives and Patrons), I  can't wait to see you see all out and about down the street, at the theatre, at the live music venue and in the Art Gallery!


Lots of Love and Support Cheri

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