Winners of the Vision Art & Literature Competition 2020

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In association with Watford Borough Council (WBC), Watford Area Arts Forum (WAAF) ran our annual competition virtually this year and the theme was ‘VISION’. WAAF invited interpretations on the theme in any art form or in writing.

WBC supported the competition as part of the Watford Together initiative. The winners of each category will receive a trophy and a £50 cash prize, 2nd prize of £30 and 3rd prize of £20 kindly donated by WBC.

The competition took a different format this year as a physical exhibition was not possible.  The judging took place online by members of the public.

We are delighted to announce the winners!

VISION ART WINNERS

Many congratulations to Roshani Bhundia who got first place with her entry Reflections of Venice, Helen Nicell came second with her entry Supermoon, Socially Distant and to Marcia Keperberg who got third place for her entry Lockdown Longing.

VISION LITERATURE WINNERS

Many congratulations to Helen Nicell who got first place with her entry Hello Anyone?, Andrea Neidle came second with her entry Dreaming and to Veronica Montgomery who got third place for her entry The Rockery.

Thank you to everyone who entered, there were some excellent pieces! Please see the winning entries below, all the other art entries can be viewed here. Literature entries can be viewed here. Some artwork is available to purchase, prices listed below, please contact us for more information.

First place: Reflections of Venice

Artist: Roshani Bhundia

Medium: Acrylic

Second place: Supermoon, Socially Distant Artist: Helen Nicell

Medium: Collage and Embroidery

Part of a wall hanging for Ascend charity.

Third place: Lockdown Longing

Artist: Marcia Kuperberg

Available to purchase for £350

Medium: Acrylic

First place: Hello Anyone – Helen Nicell

April 2020

Dear Whoever,

Congratulations on finding my time capsule, I hope it provides an insight into a very strange time in my life and the lives of everyone affected by the COVID-19. I wonder what the world will be like by the time you find this. Hopefully an antidote has been found to the virus and ‘Social Distancing’ is a thing of the past.                                                                             

Before the ‘plague’, life was good: meals in restaurants, foreign holidays, trips to the cinemas and theatres, live bands in pubs, festivals and family gatherings, weddings, parties and much more.  But most importantly, being with others, laughing , interacting, a kiss on the cheek as you came and went, a hug with loved ones.  We were free to do whatever we wanted. Yes, there were concerns: climate change, Britain leaving the EU, a new Prime Minister, inequalities for the working classes and much more. But personally, my life was good, my family settled and with the arrival of a grandson, the next generation had started.

Then the virus descended and the easiest way to catch it was through some form of social contact.  All plans were cancelled, all sports stopped. Scientists and governments from across the globe declared everyone should go into quarantine. Unemployment numbers rose to levels never seen before and stock markets crashed.  Even the oil companies were unable to shore up prices as there was no demand for fuel.

The illness appeared in China, jokes were linking it to a lager called Corona, or a fizzy drink we used to have in the 1970s. In February the Covid King reached Italy, by March it had crept into the UK. Day after day the numbers of deaths doubled.

But what about my personal experience? There were periods of not physically seeing anyone. I could see loved ones ‘virtually’ via Facetime, my sons would contact me daily. I watched with delight as my grandson ate his first solid food. Quizzes with friends on Zoom. I continued learning Bridge, but online. Virtual meetings for our writers’ group and I joined a sewing group making squares for a wall hanging with 40 contributors, recording our thoughts on isolation. But most of all, I enjoyed the peace and tranquillity, being in the garden, watching the trees turn from winter to spring and the bulbs bloom. Then the summer plants and vegetables coming into life.  It was finally time to sit still and stay at home – as Boris Johnson had asked us to do.

My vision is that some of what we learnt will stay in place, realising the importance of family time, community spirit, and being kinder to the planet. Only you will know if this is reality, I hope so, for my grandson and all descendants.

In my time capsule you will find today’s newspaper, some embroidery, a skill I learnt in lockdown and a set of playing cards. Good luck if you try to learn bridge, I never did master it!

Virtual hugs

Helen

Second place: Dreaming (After Imagine, John Lennon) – Andrea Neidle

Imagine there’s no virus

That there’s no killer flu

Nothing that’s going to hurt us

It isn’t hard to do

Imagine all the people

Grateful for this world

Imagine no social distancing

I wonder if you can

No need for masks or PPE

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Living healthy lives

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

Join me in my vision

And the world will be as one

Imagine there’s no borders

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to be killed by

Because there’s no killer flu

Imagine there are beaches

Where you can lay your head

Where you can sit with loved ones

Or go swimming in the Med

Imagine all the people

Getting close again

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

Join me in my vision

And the world will be as one

Imagine you can eat out

It’s easy if you try

Holding hands together

Watching the world go by

Imagine going to parties

It’s not hard to do

Going to gigs and festivals

Concerts and theatres too

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

Join me in my vision

And the world will be as one

Imagine celebrations

With family and friends

Seeing your relations

When this dark era ends

Imagine hugging loved ones

It isn’t hard to do

Shaking hands and kissing

When there’s no killer flu

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

Join me in my vision

And the world will be as one

Imagine there’s a vaccine

It’s easy if you try

Everyone can go outside

Because no one’s going to die

Imagine all the people

Living out their lives

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

Join me in my vision

And the world will be as one.

Third place: The Rockery – Veronica Montgomery

“From this evening, I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.”

This is it; my moment has finally arrived! I mustn’t show my excitement, I must look concerned.

I turned to Phil and say, “Well, I suppose we can get to work in the garden now.”

He just nodded, no enthusiasm and no comment on the Prime Minister’s speech. Typical of Phil, not the exciting bundle of energy I met 20 years ago. He read his book, I went on to Amazon and started to search for seeds and bulbs.

He was a catch! Tall, scruffily handsome and such humorous intelligence. I honestly couldn’t believe my luck. My friends were never keen, but I stood by my girlish infatuation. Yes, he was pompous and alienated all of our family and friends. But I was young and naive, I never realised until now that we were truly alone in the world.

For the next few days we worked tirelessly in the garden. I insisted that Phil dug deep to make the bed for our rockery.

Phil is what you would call an eternal student. He’s never actually been employed. I mean not even a part time job! Somehow, he’s just glided through life from one degree to the next funded PhD in the most obscure of subjects. I’m not jealous of him, I just despise the fact that I am now as dull as he is. We have a really healthy bank account, but we don’t do anything. The most exciting time of the year is when Phil announces we are going to Dorset to look for fossils.

Enough of my moaning, my dream will come true. Finally, I am in charge of our nothing. Our boring existence on this planet. Just me and Phil, the most predictable man in the world. Phil has asthma.

He is shielded. Joy to his ears. Lazy, dull and cold man.

I detest him.

He mustn’t leave the house. Nobody would notice, he is shielded for at least 3 months.

I have visualised this rockery, a blaze of vibrance and colour.

I hear birdsong in the morning.

I look forward to hosting lunch with new friends.

I can smell the bouquet of pinot.

I can even sniff my freedom from this loveless marriage.

Dusk is upon us; the pollen count is high. I push Phil to just dig a little deeper while there is still enough light. His breath is short.

He muttered, “My inhaler please.”

Amazing, it is just as I imagined. I hand over the empty inhaler. He drew his last pathetic breath on nothing. Just like our marriage, nothing to give. My faced beamed as I watched him try to figure out what was happening.

Then with one last thrust of energy, he drew the spade down hard on my head. I fell face down in his grave. I tasted blood in my mouth, then soil, then the usual nothing.