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Covid lockdown artist: More than 250 artists help with Essex disabled boy's project

By Charlie Jones
BBC News

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image captionNoah painted the background for this piece, which was finished by the artist Freeman (@freeman_uk on Instagram), who works for the NHS

More than 250 artists from across the world have helped a 12-year-old boy with an art project.

Noah, who has hydrocephalus, epilepsy and cerebral palsy, started painting on pieces of cardboard at home in Dedham, Essex in April, during lockdown.

His father Nathan Jones posted on Instagram, asking artists to finish the pictures and was "overwhelmed" by the response.

A book has been created from the art, with all profits going to the NHS.

image captionStreet artist Jelly (@jellyjartist on Instagram) finished this painting on the left, while Vi Rus (@virusartist on Instagram) finished the art on the right

Mr Jones said: "Noah loves painting. He has a real eye for colour and has created all the backgrounds himself.

"Every time we get a new painting in the post, Noah has the exciting task of opening it up to see what that artist has created. It has certainly kept him busy and very happy."

Artists from the UK, Colombia, Italy, Spain, France, Sweden, Germany, the US and Australia have all taken part in the project.

image captionAll proceeds from the book, which was designed by Tony Stiles, will go to the Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity

The family has created the book, called Background Bob, to raise money for the Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity and also plans to auction off the individual paintings next year for the same cause.

Mr Jones said it was their way of saying thank you to the doctors who have played "a huge part" in Noah's life.

image captionThe artist Nathan Murdoch has painted this mural of Noah in Peterborough, opposite his mural depicting the late Prodigy singer Keith Flint
image captionNoah's father Nathan came up with the idea, as a way to keep them busy during lockdown

They regularly go to street art exhibitions and were excited to find out recently that the artist Nathan Murdoch has created a mural of Noah holding his paintbrush in an underpass in Peterborough, directly opposite his famous depiction of Prodigy star Keith Flint.

Mr Jones said anyone interested in the project could follow Noah on his Instagram account, "background_bob".

image captionRaffaella Bertolini (@raffaellabertolini on Instagram) finished the art on the left while Leanne Conroy (@littlestofthemall on Instagram) collaborated with Noah on the piece on the right
image captionThe artist Fark (@FarkFK on Instagram) collaborated with Noah on this piece on the left, while AB original (@_ab_original_ on Instagram) finished the piece on the right

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