Updated: May 8, 2021
Excuse me for a moment while I state the obvious; while most of us have been able to stay put and work from home during the pandemic there are thousands of key workers across Medway who have put their own health and that of their families at risk to make sure we have all the essentials to keep on going.
*We salute you*
Apart from "doing my bit" by helping out neighbours and sewing a few scrubs for Medway Scrubbers I can never match what my friends and family who work in the medical and education sectors (big up to my nieces Esther & Kyra!), and by extension all key workers, have done.
This is a massive shout of thanks to everyone who put their health on the line, helped someone out and showed resilience.
THE RAINBOW EFFECT
Back in December 2020 Medway Council set out to commission 10 artists to produce a series of public artworks and virtual events to thank key workers and to remind us all to stay safe around town.
Medway Council's aim was also for the artworks to be a reminder of how the creative sector can help raise awareness of vital public health messages and also support Medway's bid for UK City of Culture 2025.
My friend and studio buddy, Julia Scanlon from Yemoh, was awarded one of the commissions and put in a CRAZY* amount of work to make sure her #MedwayHeroes street art installations were absolutely amazing. Her super human efforts reflected a personal heartfelt thank you for the tireless work by all key workers throughout the pandemic. Julia adds; "It's not just doctors and nurses who have had to show incredible resilience and strength but also all the unsung heroes such as public workers, volunteers, cleaners, retail staff, couriers, police officers and many many more. And if you wonder why and how Entertainers made the list: I genuinely don’t think any of us would have coped being locked up without entertainment and some humour. So thank you to you too!"
I joined Julia on the home-run and helped her install street art in Twydall, Luton, Gillingham, Strood, Rochester and Chatham.
*imagine the word CRAZY in a huge font size, bold, highlighted in neon and underlined (twice) and you might just start to get a sense of Julia’s commitment to the project.
I’ll leave it up to you if you want to wait to see each piece in its full glory or if you can’t wait then click on the link below to take you to the gallery.
GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL
Your mission, should you accept it, is to visit a location, snap a photo (with yourself in it would be even better!) and post it on social media using the hashtag #MedwayHeroes. Or take a photo of a personal Medway hero of yours, a kind neighbour, friend or whoever inspired you to keep going.
There are 15 Medway Hero artworks at the following locations:
Rochester Corporation Street - Nucleus Halpern Conservancy
Rochester Delce Road - Home and Gardens Builders Merchants
Rochester Old High Street - Naked Products Art Gallery ‘The Space’
Strood - Library
Strood Commercial Road - Iceland
Gillingham - Library
Gillingham High Street - The Bike Warehouse
Luton Luton Road - Bowen Motors
Walderslade Walderslade Woods Village - Kent Smile Studio
Twydall - Library
Lordswood - Library
Chatham High Street - Main Nucleus Cafe
Chatham High Street - Chocafellas
Rainham High Street - Vanity Tattoo Studio
Hoo The Parade - Billy’s Bakehouse.
THIS ONE’S FOR THE POWER WORKERS
So who did we miss out then? I'll go first...this one’s for my dad and all the power workers out there. Although now retired, my dad’s career as a mechanical engineer took him to power stations at Tilbury, Kingsnorth and the Isle of Grain - now all decommissioned or demolished. As kids we’d all do the eye-roll when he went on about how much power workers are the forgotten workforce that keeps the country moving. I hate to say it but he was right. Just think of the power that is needed to run the country, from your Nan sitting in front of her electric fire watching TV to the patient on a life support machine. So, this one goes out to my dad and all the power workers from me ❤️ xx
THE LAST WORD
“Sometimes the worst of times brings out the best in us. We‘ve had time to think about what‘s most important, we shared toilet paper and pasta after panic buying. But more importantly we learned we‘re all the same. No matter what our story, background or differences, we have all one thing in common: we’re all just human. Keep being kind. Keep showing LOVE #medwayheroes
Julia Scanlon, Yemoh