Covid-19: Essex boy's lockdown art project ends up in gallery

By Charlie Jones
BBC News

Published
Image source, Nathan Jones
Image caption,
Noah, who has hydrocephalus, epilepsy and cerebral palsy, is raising money for his doctors

Artwork created by a boy who wanted to pass the time during lockdown has gone on display in a gallery.

More than 250 artists from across the world came forward to help 12-year-old Noah, who lives in Dedham, Essex.

His father posted on Instagram in April, asking artists to finish the pictures he had started while he could not go to school.

Nathan Jones said he could never have imagined the paintings would end up in a gallery.

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

Mr Jones said he was "incredibly proud" and described the exhibition at Firstsite in Colchester as "a real visual treat".

"Finally seeing all the collaborations in an exhibition has been rather overwhelming," he said.

"They look absolutely stunning and Firstsite has done an incredible job. It spectacularly shows off just how huge this project became.

"It is totally amazing what beauty can be achieved when so many wonderful people come together for a great cause."

Image source, Nathan Jones
Image caption,
More than 250 artists from across the world helped Noah with his project
Image caption,
The artist Nathan Murdoch has painted this mural of Noah in Peterborough, opposite his famous mural depicting the late Prodigy singer Keith Flint

Noah, who has hydrocephalus, epilepsy and cerebral palsy, was painting on pieces of cardboard when his father had the idea.

He offered to post out the backgrounds that Noah had created to artists, who would finish them off.

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

Image caption,
Street artist Jelly (@jellyjartist on Instagram) finished this painting on the left, while Vi Rus (@virusartist on Instagram) finished the art on the right
Image caption,
All proceeds from the book, which was designed by Tony Stiles, will go to the Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity

The family has created a 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.

He said anyone interested in the project could follow Noah on his Instagram account background_bob.

Image caption,
Noah's father Nathan came up with the idea as a way to keep them busy during lockdown
Image caption,
Raffaella 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 caption,
The 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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