Covid-19 has proven a need for national treasures more than ever. From Captain Tom Moore, to Gilbert and George, individuals are stepping up to the plate, providing inspiration and solace when we need it most. David Hockney is no exception.
The artist, currently in lockdown in France, has been employing his iPad to draw the garden of his Normandy home, and released his work Do remember they can’t cancel spring in March in an effort to lift spirits. He has now been called upon once more, inspiring a new competition Hope in Spring: draw like Hockney.
The competition, suggested by Ruth Mackenzie, another Brit isolating elsewhere, followed the receipt of a letter from Hockney. It read: “Many [people] tell me these drawings offer respite at this testing time … they are testament to the cycle of life which begins here with the birth of spring … Idiots that we are, we have lost our link with nature even though we are part of it completely. All of this will end one day. What lessons will we learn?
“I’m 82, I’m going to die. We die because we are born. The only things that matter in life are food and love, in that order, and also our little dog Ruby. I truly believe this, and for me, the basis of art is love. I love life.”
Mackenzie said: “I asked David if he would consider doing something for French people in lockdown needing a touch of solidarity and he very generously sent us one of his works exclusively and shared another nine with us and agreed to do this brilliant competition to inspire and spark some joy.
She continued: “It just seemed a lovely idea to share his fantastic spirit of optimism and hope and colour. Hopefully it will inspire people all around the world.”
The competition is being co-organised by Châtelet theatre in Paris, which Mackenzie directs, along with the Centre Pompidou in Paris who hosted a major retrospective of Hockney’s work in 2017, and France Inter Radio.