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Irish children share lockdown artwork in new exhibition

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Children across Ireland are sharing their artwork to mark the one year anniversary of lockdown.

The library of Trinity College Dublin has launched an online exhibition showcasing children’s drawings, poems, diaries and fictional accounts in response to the first nationwide lockdown this time last year.

Most of the works submitted were produced in June of 2020, when it first appeared that lockdown conditions were going to end. There are some common themes throughout the works, with the key ones surrounding school closures and the absence of friends and family members.

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For example, one child wrote: “I was very sad and confused as I am only 11. I though[t] pandemics only happened in movies. The most saddest part was not being able to see my Dad and my grandparents for 3 months.”

Another child wrote: “Things haven't been great and everything was sad and dreadful since [we] had to stay home from school… Sometimes I feel like that there was no escape from this. I also never seen my friends and it was a bit lonely sometimes.”

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The Trinity Access Programme, in association with the library and with Children's Books Ireland, initiated a primary-schools competition. Winners of the competition were awarded personal book prizes or a workshop for their class with an artist or a children's author.

The winners of the workshop prizes were the assumption Senior Girls' School in Walkinstown, and the Francis St CBS in the Liberties.

Trinity library’s Dr Jane Maxwell, who led the research, said: “It is notoriously difficult to ensure that children's own voices are preserved through time in the historical record.

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“It can be expected that these children's records will continue to add vigour and colour to future research focusing on the experience of the pandemic in Ireland.”

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Many observations were made by the children about loneliness and boredom.

“I will never say I am bored again. I was only truly bored when Coronovirus [sic] said ‘hi’,” one said.

Another said: “Loneliness is another thing. I always thought of myself as a loner. I'm shy and avoid talking to new people. But I need a social life... At this point I'm desperate to see people.”

Of course it’s not all sad, as there are some humorous additions, with one kid saying: “Working from home is better because you have constant access to the fridge.”

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“Things I've learnt ... going to Penn[e]y's every week is NON-ESSENTIAL. (I know, I know I was a bit surprised myself),” a different child noted.

Also mixed in were thoughts, such as: “I believe this pandemic is a punishment from God because people are not doing his will anymore.”

Anoter said: “We prefer the world we have found in this horrible lockdown than the one we have created without thinking about what we were doing.”

The full Living in Lockdown exhibition of the children’s work can be viewed for free on Trinity library’s website.


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