'We flooded Instagram with positivity and joy," Celine Dee says. To do so is no small feat in the often toxic environment of social media platforms - and especially in the midst of a global pandemic. Celine, along with her colleagues at Dublin branding agency RichardsDee, set up Creatives Against Covid-19, an art project that has now been turned into an exhibition at the Guinness Storehouse.
The idea was born after Celine's team were moved by figures released early in lockdown that showed an increase in calls for help to the ISPCC Childline and Women's Aid. After approaching the charities to offer its support, the agency developed a brief, calling on creatives to submit artworks that would be sold to raise funds for both causes.
The response was overwhleming, with over 1,200 pieces submitted from 30 countries. These included everything from photographs and graphic designs to poems, which were sold as prints for €40 each.
The campaign became something of a viral sensation, gaining support from the likes of Harper's Bazaar in the US, and creating that much-needed jolt of positivity for everyone who came across it online.
Celine says that the part of the reason for its success was the campaign's inclusive approach. "Every single work we received went on sale. For creatives, it didn't matter what age you were, what discipline you work in or what stage in your career you're at, you could impact women and children's lives."
Key, too, was the project's theme of 'soon'. "Lockdown was a moment, we knew it would pass. But it was an opportunity to focus on the things we love to do. The beauty was in seeing that those were all the really simple things, from sea swimming to hugging our friends."
As the world slowly opens back up, that 'soon' has become 'now' for many of those simple things. We can, for instance, enjoy a pint of Guinness with friends again - a pleasure that came up time and again in the artworks. That didn't go unnoticed by the folks at St James's Gate, who offered the Guinness Storehouse as an exhibition space for the campaign. 'Soon is Now' runs until August 31 and features all of the project's artworks, in what Celine describes as "an installation of creativity, hope and love during lockdown".
Anyone who bought a print - or buys one at creativesagainstcovid19.com, where they are still on sale - will receive a free ticket, as well as an optional pint to raise a toast to the return of the simple pleasures that couldn't come too soon.
Sunday Indo Life Magazine