Juliet Middleton-Batts

Social Distance: Corona 2020

Spring 2020 saw the arrival of the Covid-19 virus, an unprecedented pandemic that affected the whole world. Businesses were instructed to close and lock up their premises at very short notice and the public ordered to stay at home.


The small tourist destination of St Ives in Cornwall become a ghost town, with the usually busy streets completely deserted. All the eclectic, small shops were shut within the space of a few days and many had hastily written signs in their windows often alongside a more formal, printed announcement of closure. Most of the messages were written as thanks of past (and hopefully future) support and expressed the feelings of camaraderie that started to engulf the nation. 


Social history and language are continuing themes within my work. I was drawn to these signs as they convey messages that reflect an extraordinary moment in time, combined with a unique use of words and idiosyncrasy of spelling and grammar. The declarations were written with a variety of pen, in different colours and on any surface that came quickly to hand. Some were safely displayed behind plastic and all attached using different methods, but each sign held a unique fascination to me. 


'All masses suspended...'

'We look forward to seeing you on the flipside...'