A Letter in Mind - Call for Entries

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A Letter in Mind - Call for Entries

Call for artists to take part in A Letter in Mind 2020, fundraising for NHS hospital. Chantal Joffe and Ishbel Myerscough talk about The National Brain Appeal’s exhibition which is also supported by Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry, Antony Gormley, Olafur Eliasson and David Shrigley

Ishbel Myerscough, A Letter in Mind 2019

The National Brain Appeal’s art fundraiser A Letter in Mind is back, asking artists to get creative on an envelope.

The theme for this year’s exhibition is Everyday Things, reflecting on how life has become simpler during lockdown.

Several artists have already agreed to take part including designer Zandra Rhodes; artists Chantal JoffeIshbel MyserscoughMorag MyerscoughMark Dion, Gill Rocca, Bill Mundy and Mark Entwisle; illustrators Tim Hopgood and Polly Dunbar; architect Laurie Chetwood; comedian and presenter Jo Brand; journalist and presenter Andrew Marr; actors Stephen Campbell-Moore, Kevin Eldon and Sophie Thompson; and musicians Terry Hall and Justin Roberston.

In recent years Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry (see Grayson's 2017 entry below), Antony Gormley, Olafur Eliasson and David Shrigley have donated artworks.

The exhibition, now in its seventh year, is due to take place at the Oxo Gallery, London, and on the charity’s online gallery from 5-8 November, 2020.

All artworks will be exhibited anonymously, priced identically at £85. The identity of the artist is revealed at the end of the exhibition, once the artwork has sold.

Proceeds will go towards supporting vital projects at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, where, like all NHS hospitals, staff have been working under enormous pressure over the last few months, responding to the Covid-19 crisis. 

Royal Academician Chantal Joffe is taking part for the second year running having been asked to take part by her close friend and fellow artist Ishbel Myerscough

Chantal said: 'A Letter in Mind is egalitarian in that all the artworks are anonymous and all artists are equally represented. I don’t like hierarchy. I much prefer that it is not about names. I think all artists like that. There is less pressure on the artist. It’s not a threat. I also prefer that everybody does the same size and the envelope concept. It is simple and good.' 

She continued: 'Art and envelopes have got a history. A lot of artists used to draw on stationery in hotels. Martin Kippenberger and On Kawara both did and I love their work. I like mail art. I went to an exhibition of postal art. It’s about the date it is made. I like that A Letter in Mind is similar.'

Ishbel Myerscough, who won the 1995 National Portrait Gallery’s BP Portrait Award, will be taking part for the third time this year. She said: 'A Letter in Mind is a good title. It conjures up lots of images. I am always composing letters in my mind to people past and present. All these people don’t know I’m thinking about them!

'We always doodled on envelopes as children. My mother, if she saw a bird or a cat through the window, would find the nearest thing on the kitchen table to draw them on, usually an envelope. When we were on the bus she would give us one out of her bag for us to draw on. I still have them in my handbag for the same reason. When we cleared out mum’s house we found so many of her drawings on envelopes.'

See Ishbel's 2019 A Letter in Mind entry above right.

Eva Tait, curator of The National Brain Appeal’s A Letter in Mind, said; 'Now is the perfect time to get creative and support a great cause. Taking part in A Letter in Mind is a wonderful way to show support for the NHS, as all proceeds from the exhibition will fund projects within The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology.' 

All artists are invited to register to take part, find more details on the website, aletterinmind.org

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