Unit London’s New Online Show Models Community Engagement During COVID

Brittney Leeanne Williams’s Red Circle in a Red Square, 2020.
Brittney Leeanne Williams’s Red Circle in a Red Square, 2020.

In a time where we’re all living online, craving any form of meaningful together-ness, it’s sometimes hard to find content that satisfies. That’s where contemporary art gallery Unit London offers reprieve. With their innovative online gallery show, “Drawn Together,” founders Joe Kennedy and Jonny Burt hope to both raise funds for COVID-19 relief while also showing support from the artistic community in this time of crisis. Originally slated for viewing from June 4-12, the gallery postponed the opening until June 11th, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, following the murder of George Floyd and numerous others and worldwide protests against police brutality. They will spend the week supporting the BLM movement online through their digital platforms, as well as donating to the Minnesota Freedom Fund and Campaign Zero, all while spreading information on additional resources and donation pages.

Alvin Ong's Uncut, 2020.

When the show opens, 100% of the gallery proceeds, as well as almost 50% of artist proceeds, will be donated to the Medecins Sans Frontières Coronavirus Crisis Appeal (MSF) and the COVID-19 response campaign of global charity World Vision. The show is centered around the collective return to a nostalgia for simpler times that we all seem to be seeking in this time of uncertainty—reading more books, baking copious amounts of bread or learning to sew. Artists will exhibit and share their return to simplicity with unique drawings and works on paper for “Drawn Together.”

Roby Dwi Antonio's Fear, 2020.

Featuring works from artists from every continent—such as Katherine Bradford, Chantal Joffe, Frank Auerbach, Maggi Hambling and Kenny Schachter—this show is not Unit London’s first contribution to the greater good during quarantine, however. It follows two initiatives on the Unit London Instagram page: #HereForU, highlighting emerging artists not yet signed to galleries and #LivingWithArt, which hopes to inspire people to celebrate the art they already own and love by sharing it with the community. Since founding the gallery in 2013, Kennedy and Burt have been working tirelessly to make art more accessible and “Drawn Together” will continue this mission. While galleries may be closed and shows cancelled, Unit London has made it possible for us to still enjoy art from the safety of our homes, provide support to those in need and feel a little less alone.