• Naseem Syed

‘We Can Be Together Apart / Gallwn Fod Gyda’n Gillydd Ar Wahân’ by Kate Mercer


Kate Mercer is a visual artist based in Newport. Her work explores cultural uses of photography, particularly focusing on memory, identity and perception. She likes to experiment with collage, textiles, video and photography.

Has lockdown changed you? How? Why?

I notice peoples' behaviour more and try to think more compassionately before being critical of others. I spend more time outside. I care less about perfection, and more about completing work; accepting situations more as they are rather than how I feel they should be. I love to grow plants and give them as gifts to other people. I've noticed it's this I talk most about with others now than anything else - it brings us together and is something we can all enjoy without needing to be in the same garden.

What made you smile or brought you joy in lockdown? Can you explain it?

Drawings sent by nieces and nephews of my husband, myself and our cat, and a finger painting of flowers by a friends young son.

Have you changed since lockdown? Tell me why.

I am not aware of having changed since lockdown, but others may feel that I have.

What is the story behind your hand art?

During the first lockdown I cared for my terminally ill mother - it meant I had to move away from family and friends to live with them and shield from the virus. It was tough. It made me value time spent with others more, in real life and online. I wanted to find a way to find a way of making an art work that could travel any distance to bring people together - touched by one person before being sent to another. Sometimes they are left in public spaces for people to come upon, take home and send. Some have been used by Newport Community Arts Development team as a resource and activity to challenge social isolation in our community. It is a joy to enable others to send messages to people that can’t be seen at the time.

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