quarantine and create Runner Up: Nikita Quarshie

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.


Our runner up is Nikita Quarshie who is in the process of a completing a master’s degree in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action. "I enjoy story-telling and using art as a way of articulating that which I find difficult in words."

The inspiration

The inspiration for this collage came after a particular experience I had during the

lockdown period.

So many incredible resources have been shared online during quarantine- many of

them to do with forms of self-care and/or with the transformation of this period into

one of self-improvement.

Though useful, I wanted to push back against what I felt was an over-emphasis on

productivity and being okay. Mostly, I was incredibly overwhelmed by how not-okay I

was, even despite (and perhaps in the face of) my relative privilege at a time when

pre-existing inequalities and vulnerabilities were, and still are, being exacerbated.

Rather than hurry my feelings, and not being able to do much else, I allowed myself

to grieve a little and acknowledge these feelings. And that, sometimes, looks like

coming to a halt. Like crying hard and, for me at that time, like not being able to get

out of bed.

The collage, as a medium, has become the go-to for me to work through my

thoughts and feelings. With a collage, things don’t make sense and yet they do.

Connections are made while some ideas stand alone and a new of way of seeing,

placing and understanding is encouraged. After several attempts at different ideas I

decided to begin with words. From there, I selected images that I felt reflected some

of the text. Originally, I used images archived from Tumblr, but they didn’t really

work- they felt too forced or impersonal. I then went through my own photos and

selected a few that at least seemed familiar. I am a complete novice at Photoshop

(!!) but I enjoy layering images, cutting out parts and rearranging them on the page.

The part I struggled with the most was the hand in the top right-hand corner. Initially

it felt too disembodied- too much of a contrast to everything else. But I now feel that

it allows the image to make sense.

My collage, I hope, shares something important about compassion. At a point during

confinement, I hid away, I turned off the lights and I cried and slept a lot. I didn’t

come out feeling better, or less concerned about what was happening or even with a

plan about what I wanted for myself or the next course of action. But I did come out

kinder. With a self that I could thus extend to others and the issues I care about.


Instagram: @dede.koko Blog: nikitasena.wordpress.com

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