quarantine and create 1st place: omar swaby

what is quarantine and create?

Near the beginning of lockdown, BLACKONBLACK launched QUARANTINE AND CREATE, a workbook full of challenges across a wide range of creative disciplines with the aim of not only providing an outlet for creatives' anxiety or frustration, but also a way to create small funding opportunities for our community.

As a human-focused agency, we are committed to supporting creatives of colour. Nobody could have predicted the current Covid-19 situation and we are aware (and experiencing ourselves as a self-funded project) of the real impact of the disease on the opportunities for creatives as well as the financial burden.

We initially planned to give out 3 financial prizes but due to the quality of the work we extended this to 4!

The money will support these creatives, some of whom have been made unemployed, with their groceries, bills or other essentials you may need in this time.

p.s. you can still purchase the workbook to keep you occupied in this last leg of lockdown, all money made will go towards the Belly Mujinga Fund, learn more here.

first place

Due to COVID 19, Omar lost his job as a special need’s assistant meaning financially things are tough. However, he has spent his time working on his passion of writing and music. He has been locked down with Ellie Radford (right), who co-created this piece with him and have collaborated his musical talent with her technical videography skills.

During this pandemic they have seen positive actions from people and their communities. However when examining the actions from our governments and people in power "it becomes clear that their sole focus is on personal gain and corruption. Our work since quarantine has focused on bringing certain truths to light and creating a conversation about this."

The inspiration

Inside My Minds Design

The meaning behind the title references my understanding of my mind and self. I believe once you understand yourself, you can start to understand what’s around you too.

‘Rebellious like a Haitian, still waiting for my 40 acres, yeah they sold us dreams.’ We are continuously regressing into an oppressive regime that I want to address and compare to the 1791 Haitian slave rebellion. Reminding and inspiring us to think of times when people were united and rose up.

Thinking about our current situation and the cracks that have been showing within our society. There are signs that ‘the trust has been misplaced’ within our government and how things are managed, which I feel needs recognising, not just for now but for our society to evolve in the future.

‘We bargain with the devil, then we question why he makes us bleed,’ throughout history, we have elected and allowed leaders to sign deals and pass laws without our discretion. These laws seem to only benefit the elite and their friends, while the rest are made to suffer and question the real meaning of ‘progression’ and ‘democracy.’

After speaking about being a ‘menace to society’ I then go on to question ‘are my thoughts harmless,’ as the designs inside your mind lay the foundations for your next steps, which can either be a positive or negative pathway depending on how society classes you… but we march on, regardless.

The design of the video uses the interface of our first computers. This was used to address the theme of ‘societies change and development,' with the communication being something that is familiar to us all. Technology has greatly improved throughout the years but to what expense do we strive for this improvement and 'advancement?'

Rich Refugees (adapted from Omar’s song lyrics written under his death metal band ‘Dygora')

The theme of the poem is referencing our government’s behaviour during this crisis. Their elitist and privileged attitude has been exposed countlessly, yet none of their credibility is lost. 

This story conjurers the fantasy that when our people of power reach their second home or place of protection, the ‘natives want blood.’ Throughout history when there has been a nation or worldwide incident, it is usually the civilians who suffer the most - with the rich being able to use their resources and protect themselves from the situation. The question I am asking throughout this poem is what happens when those same privileged people are met with rage and revenge.

‘Now you define the laws of the poor, defiant, hungry, mistreated and bored.’ Our laws are written by the men and women who claim to have the people's best interest at heart. However, more and more we are seeing the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer - this can be down to nepotism, wealth or loopholes, which enable certain individuals the advantage over the rest. Leaving many understandably defiant and hungry

You gather your belongings while we gather our rent’. This is a comparison not a metaphor . When things "turn left" and there's nowhere to go for us, the rich with their assets are able to leave what they have behind and find a haven somewhere else… just like that. But everyday people, a lot of the time find themselves stuck in their situation, struggling to find the basic means of survival. Two different worlds, under the same 'apparent' laws.

The location of the video was picked to conjure the feeling of natural refuge and demonstrate the idyllic surroundings everyone is searching for in these current times. 

The mash up of the video design is referencing the confusion and conflict of our current times. The first section ends on a single small screen to reflect the issues on exclusiveness and isolation that are discussed within the poem. This box is replaced with Omar talking, the limited size of this screen represents how these opinions and voices are often ignored or given little attention. 




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