#Portraits4PPE online exhibition


An online exhibition curated by artist Lady Kitt, commissioned and hosted by Disability Arts Online. Exhibition video by artist Sarah Li.

These 8 portraits, all created during the COVID19 pandemic, celebrate 8 extraordinary people.

Portraits by:

  • Alexandra Rouppe van der Voort
  • Richard Downes/Charlet Wilson 
  • Lady Kitt
  • Aly Smith
  • Anastasiya Kolomiyets 
  • Cath Walsh
  • Lou Wildish 
  • Andy Gillis

Through the exhibition Lady Kitt hopes to raise awareness of the lack of PPE for social care workers, community-based nursing staff, home carers and PAs.

This project has been prompted by Kitt’s experience of growing up in a household supported by social carers and the current experiences of several friends who are deeply concerned that they will not be able to:

  • maintain their independence
  • protect their own health
  • protect the health of others

due to the lack of PPE available for home and social care workers.

This is a hugely important, deeply nuanced and largely ignored issue, affecting tens of thousands of disabled people.

Sale of works will raise money for social care staff who support people at home and currently have very limited (if any) access to PPE. For more info on purchasing the works and fundraising please see here.

The exhibition is in the form of an 18-minute-long film. The film, which includes an introductory text, shows each of the 8 works for 2 minutes exactly. It was created to encourage “slow looking” or “slow appreciating” and includes text, audio and visuals.  

Below are two short texts relating to “slow looking”. The first is from Lady Kitt about their approach to curating this exhibition. The second is an explanation of “slow looking” from TATE online:

“This whole online exhibition thing is a strange old business- I worried that online viewing/ experiencing might make it hard to really build a relationship with the work. I wanted to try and find ways of encouraging “slow looking” online. To create a space for us to grow intimate, nuanced understandings of the artists ideas and skills.”

Lady Kitt, Aug 2020

“Studies have found that visitors to art galleries spend an average of eight seconds looking at each work on display. But what happens when we spend five minutes, fifteen minutes, an hour or an afternoon really looking in detail at an artwork? This is ‘slow looking’. It is an approach based on the idea that, if we really want to get to know a work of art, we need to spend time with it. Slow looking is not about curators, historians or even artists telling you how you should look at art. It’s about you and the artwork, allowing yourself time to make your own discoveries and form a more personal connection with it. Remember, it’s not rude to stare at art.”

Tate online, 2020

It’s also not rude to NOT stare. If you want to flick through quickly (or there’s a particular work you’re interested in) the info below about each artist is accompanied by a time code. This indicates the time in the film where you can see, and hear, about that specific work. We have provided this so you can “jump” back / forward, through the film.

Artist individual info:

Artist Name: Alexandra Rouppe van der Voort

Artist email address: a.rouppevdervoort@upcmail.nl

The title of the portrait: ‘Veronique, a great cook’

Time code of work on exhibition film: 01:00- 03:00

Information about the person it depicts: Veronique is an amazing cook. She is a woman who plays with food, flavors, colors and has an elegant way of service wherever she comes with her dishes. During Covid 19, she and a colleague of hers have made enormous amounts of quarantaine curry, to support people who did not feel safe to go out to the stores for food because of the corona virus. They named their dinner: curryupcurryon a taste of happiness, and drove all over through Holland to bring around and sell their happy Curry!

A description of the portrait:

Painted with oil on bamboo. It was 2003 when I started this way of painting which I call ‘emotional anatomy’. Since then it has been developed. To me the painting ‘Veronique, a great cook’ is full of sun, summer and shining. All the bright colors define my love for intense and warm colors, but they also symbolize the cooks handwriting. The way I painted her hands expresses the talent she has in making delicious beautiful food.

About the artist:

I am a professional artist, and during my life I have always been drawing, painting or photographing portraits of people, animals and nature.


Instagram: @Alexandrarouppeart

Artist Name:  Richard Downes/Charlet Wilson

Artist email address: r.downes@yahoo.co.uk

The title of the portrait: ‘A Tissue Of Haikus’

Time code of work on exhibition film: 03:00- 05:00

Information about the person it depicts: 50 words on my vain self portrait (It’s me Richard Downes): I’m amazing am I not? A poet connected to poets, working with poets through zoom, facebook live and facebook rooms (new methods) to ground our small community in the small pleasures our work brings and yet somehow to find the time to write for myself, devise my projects and all

A description of the portrait: Germ Face. Self Portrait captured by camera, cropped and corrupted to suggest germs, bacteria, virus’s plastered over by black rectangle containing words about deaths in nursing homes and campaigns for independent living

Information about the art I like to make:

I am a socially engaged artist who aspires to increase the scope of my work through performance (troubadour), working with others (collaborators) and building the magic (workshops). All good fun and jolly good company


Artist Name:  Lady Kitt

Artist email address: lady_kitt@lladykitt.com

The title of the portrait: “#Portraits4PPE Areema Nasreen”

Time code of work on exhibition film: 05:00- 07:00

Information about the person it depicts: Areema Nasreen was Nurse who cared forcovid19 patients at Walsall Manor Hospital, before dying of the disease in April 2020. She spent years working in the hospital as a cleaner whilst training to be a nurse.

A description of the portrait: A papercut portrait by Lady Kitt. Head and shoulders portrait of Areema Nasreen, a woman in her mid-thirties wearing a headscarf. The portrait is made up of hundreds of tiny heart shaped holes cut from a bank note. The note is backed with black card. On the left hand side of the note lays a small glass vial with a cork stopper. It is filled with the heart shapes that have been cut from the note

About the artist: I am a socially engaged artist and drag king from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. I’m insatiably curious about the civic functions of stuff that gets called art. I use papercrafting, performance and research to create objects, interactions, events. Some things that happen as part of my work are: super-sized origami boat races, policy changes, & an international feminist art magazine for and by children.


Artist Name: Aly Smith

Artist email address:  alylousmith123@yahoo.com

The title of the portrait: ‘Penny’

Time code of work on exhibition film: 07:00- 09:00

Information about the person it depicts:

Penny has been supporting people in the Byker area for many years now by cooking and ensuring families and individuals have food. She campaigns against food poverty, and during this time of Covid 19 she has continued cooking voluntarily and getting meals to sheltered housing residents.

A description of the portrait: A pencil line drawn portrait of a woman wearing glasses, she looks serious.

Information about the artist: Aly Smith is an artist with bi-polar and a few other mental health diagnosis thrown in depending which health care provider she sees. Her work often looks at the comedic side of her bi-polar whilst wanting to raise awareness of mental health and the struggles that herself and people have.


Artist Name: Anastasya Kolomiyets

Artist email address: nastandwheat@gmail.com

The title of the portrait: “Snezhana the Helper ”

Time code of work on exhibition film: 09:00- 11:00

Information about the person it depicts:  I’m getting essential daily help from Snezhana, my helper. She is a positive and sunny person, a friend of mine with a beautiful body that
inspired me to paint our ‘unavoidable’ intimacy.

A description of the portrait: Based on dairy sketches of postures and movements of my helper-companion, I created a portrait without a portrait. I added moving lights and animation to bring focus on a human body that generates warmth and breath, feeling of existence and intimacy – vital to survive, not only during the lockdown

Information about the artist:  I graduated from the Minerva Art Academy. Lately my physical conditions deteriorated and now I look for inspiration in new ‘wheelchair’ circumstances – by scanning and zooming-in structures, light and colours, I began to discover new dimensions, see unusual in usual and share “sublime of close-up” in my art.


Artist Name: Catherine Walsh

Artist email address: cath16bcc@yahoo.com

The title of the portrait: “Who fits the picture”

Time code of work on exhibition film: 11:00 – 13:00

Information about the person it depicts: i have left the face blank on the portrait to symbolise how easy it is to class anyone as a carer, at times it happens by accident for example family and friends helping out. Carers can be official carers or people that fall into that role in a small way, whatever the person the recipient receives the care needed at that time.

A description of the portrait: A pencil outline of a head with a pencil-drawn cap coloured purple with words from newspapers cut out and glued around the head the words are lockdown 2 metres crisis infection fears fix and services restarting. The face is left blank to enable a picture of carer to be placed in blank face.

Information about the artist:

I am 48 years old and a self-taught disabled artist, I produced my first piece of work for nasty women international exhibition. I have continued producing art in different forms and on different platforms. I won a 3-day residency with the nasty women art prize. I also use performance art and am a drag king which is so much fun, I won the king of the toon at the Curious Arts vogue ball 2019

Artist Name: Lou Wildish (Wildbushart)

Artist email address: wildbushart@gmail.com

The title of the portrait: “Sami-Louise”

Time code of work on exhibition film: 13:00-15:00

Information about the person it depicts:  Sami-Louise is an East Midlands Ambulance paramedic and is working on the front line during Covid19 getting patients to hospital and supporting them. I know from speaking to paramedics and Sami-Louise that it’s just as scary for them as the rest of us, but they keep doing their job regardless.

A description of the portrait: The portrait is in acrylic paint on acrylic paper and was created in about 8 hours, I wanted to show realism and honesty and give Sami-Louise something to have at this time.

Information about the artist:  I am an artist working mostly actually in abstract art and portraits, I have been painting all my life, but only in recent years have I decided to share my art with the world. I have had M.E for over 25 years which has meant that all my aspects of life have been more isolated than most. This period of isolation ironically has given me more connection to others in a very long time.

Website: www.wildbushart.com

Artist Name: Andy Gillis

Artist email address: hello@headwayarts.co.uk

The title of the portrait: Friends at work

Time code of work on exhibition film: 15:00 – 17:00

Information about the person it depicts: The drawing is from my mind of my friends at work (Headway Arts). It is like a family. It was drawn in lockdown when I am missing everyone.

A description of the portrait: A drawing of a head and shoulders on white A4 cartridge paper using dark lead pencil. Use of strong hatched line and soft shading shows heavy features, with a prominent nose and long textured hair. The person is front facing and looking at the viewer. There is an square area of mid tone background surrounding the figure.

Information about the artist: Andy is one of the lead artists at Headway Arts. He is a performer, DJ and visual artist who makes work about his life and friends and often creates pencil portraits. He co-hosts and programmes the annual learning disability arts festival ‘Come On Down’ in Northumberland now in its 17th year.  He sits on the North Creative Minds working party.  He recently co-created work for Commissions for Exchange Symposium and is one of the artists on Arts Council England funded project Beautiful Difference which supports opportunities for learning disabled artists.  He is part of the Headway Arts international team who recently shared work in Greece. He is married. His hobby is playing poker, preferably in his favourite place to go on holiday, Las Vegas.