Care I Contagion I Community – Self & Other

Autumn 2021 - Spring 2022


As we face the emotional, physical, economic, and psychosocial consequences in the wake of the pandemic, the notion of community and care is now more pertinent than ever. Initiated during the first month of the UK’s first national lockdown in 2020, Autograph commissioned ten UK-based artists to create new work in response to the wider context of the Covid-19 crisis. The artist commissions reflect Autograph’s long-standing work advocating for photography and film to address visual politics of rights, race and representation.

These new visual art works commissioned for Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other will be showcased in a group exhibition at our gallery in Shoreditch, London.

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Rivington Place



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Both emerging and established, the commissioned artists produced a diverse range of work that considers themes such as the shifting notions of community and (self)care, different modes of being, and how to navigate this new ‘normal’ in the context of ‘contagion’.

Focusing on familial relationships, front line workers and communities of colour, the first instalment will feature mixed media works – both experimental, documentary and traditional photographic portraiture, alongside conceptual filmmaking – that reflect critically on the impact of Covid-19 through notions of loss, family, history, pedagogy, and media propaganda. The second instalment will explore interior and exterior landscapes, as well as themes of archive and memory, home and belonging, through intricate visual diaries, staged self-portraiture and conceptual mixed media works. For the gallery installation, the visual art works will be presented with text excerpts from newly commissioned texts in the form of large-scale vinyl graphic on the gallery walls.

Collectively the practice of the ten artists’ addresses complex themes including social justice, cultural identity, sexuality and gender politics, race and representation, disability and ableism, migration, human trafficking, and social activism.

Artists: Mohini Chandra; Joy Gregory; Poulomi Desai; Othello De-Souza Hartley; Karl Ohiri; Sonal Kantaria; Ope Lori; Dexter McLean; Silvia Rosi; and Aida Silvestri.

About the project

Initiated during the first months of the UK’s first national lockdown in 2020, Autograph has commissioned a constituency of ten UK-based creative practitioners in our immediate artistic community working with lens-based media to create an open-ended visual arts project in response to the current Covid-19 pandemic, alongside ten new writing commissions.

Throughout the past year, Autograph’s curatorial team – including director Mark Sealy, senior curator Renée Mussai and curatorial project manager Bindi Vora – have been in close dialogue with the artists to produce these new bodies of work. The commissions reflect Autograph’s long-standing work advocating for photography and film to address visual politics of rights, race and representation.

Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other will be presented as a two-part group exhibition at Autograph's gallery in Shoreditch, London, from late summer 2021 through to spring 2022. The artist commissions were first launched online in March 2021, to mark one year since the first national lockdown, and will be published in a dedicated catalogue later this year to accompany the exhibition series.


Mohini Chandra
Poulomi Desai
Joy Gregory
Othello De'Souza-Hartley
Sonal Kantaria
Ope Lori
Dexter McLean
Karl Ohiri
Silvia Rosi
Aida Silvestri


Our senior curator Renée Mussai introduces the new artist commissions in a curatorial essay One (Pandemic) Year On...

Read an introduction to the Care | Contagion | Community project


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Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Images, from top: 1) Aida Silvestri, A Great Leveller [detail], 2020. Cacao, coffee, tea, sugar and tobacco and pigment ink on cotton fabric; 79 x 102 cm. From the series Contagion: Colour on the Front Line, commissioned by Autograph for Care | Contagion | Community – Self & Other (2020).