Tues 4pm GMT, 13 April 2021
The pioneering environmental artist, Agnes Denes, who planted a wheat field against the backdrop of New York’s Twin Towers in 1982, is raising a flag, “The Future is Fragile, Handle with Care," on the roof of Tate Britain as a cultural call to action in response to the dual crisis of COVID-19 and climate change. The installation marks the conclusion of Healing Arts London and the launch of a global 2021 campaign to support improved mental, social and environmental health in the wake of the pandemic. The flag will remain on the masthead above Tate Britain until May.
The installation above one of the UK’s most iconic museums, presented in partnership with Vivobarefoot and Special Global Projects, also represents the launch of The Future is Unwritten Artist Response Fund, established to support artist-led projects which address the global health crisis. Among the projects being supported are two programmes in Iraq, in partnership with Community Jameel, documenting and sustaining traditional cultural practices to address mental health needs among the Marsh Arabs and Yazidi communities. The fund is also supporting a community arts programme in the Navajo Nation, Arizona, which had among the highest per capita COVID-19 infection rate in the United States.
Denes's flag calls out for the urgency of a global response not only to COVID 19 but also to its connection to climate change (as she has been doing through artworks created over the past fifty years). With leading UN environmental agencies describing the virus as nature’s first "warning shot" to civilizations playing with fire, it is a stark reminder of the need for cooperation across borders and generations. It symbolizes the need for a collective response to these crises and how that can be transformed into a paradigm shift with all sectors of society contributing to a new vision of the world as we emerge from the pandemic. According to the artist, "Global dialogue and action are more crucial now than ever.”
Healing Arts London, from 22 to 26 March 2021, will be a week of dialogues, interviews, videos, and auction to support a rapid response to the COVID-19 crisis on mental health
Gillian Anderson, Actor, in conversation with Christopher Bailey, Arts & Health Lead, WHO; with special guests Sir Antony Gormley, Artist, and Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director General, WHO
Hosted by Ben Luke (The Art Newspaper Podcast) with William Kentridge & Phala Ookeditse Phala (The Center for the Less Good Idea), Ragnar Kjartansson, Susie Hamilton (Hospital Rooms), Hani Rashid (Asymptote Architecture) in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Jonathan Aitken (Chaplain, Pentonville Prison) & Dan Brown, among others
Our colleagues from the WHO host discussions between researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to ask the question, what is the verifiable evidence that art heals? We also take a look at the role of the arts as a therapy to ease mental health conditions for patient and caregiver alike
As part of Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary London sale, contemporary masters including Antony Gormley, William Kentridge, Martin Creed, Ragnar Kjartansson and Yoshitomo Nara have generously donated works to support front-line art and mental health programmes in the wake of Covid-19
This panel will discuss how artists are working on the frontlines of the current crisis and how the pandemic might change the art-world systems and values of the past decades. Panel discussion chaired by Anna Somers Cocks, founder editor, The Art Newspaper; Dr Cara Courage, Head of Tate Exchange, Tate Museums; Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, co-founder, UK Black Pride; and Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, director, Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Turin