Seeing Us Through: Martin Gray
Throughout the past year, the importance of essential workers has been at the forefront of hearts and minds. Many roles now noted as ‘key’ were not too long ago deemed ‘low-skilled’, and it’s workers in these roles that have seen us through the darkest days. To honour unsung Scottish heroes of the pandemic, multi-media artist Martin Gray has created a series of 12 powerful portraits that explore a cross-section of community life – from hospitality workers and local pharmacists, to cleaning technicians and bike repair engineers – to celebrate their incredible efforts. As Gray says, “community is at the heart of everything, especially in a crisis”.
We partnered with Martin Gray to bring the portrait series to Scottish streets with city-wide poster displays in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The series combines monochrome portraits with block shapes in bold primary colours that symbolise the contrasting experiences many have had over the course of the pandemic. The portraits were generally taken during busy working days, capturing fleeting moments that will be an invaluable, representative record of this time. When displayed alongside one another, the portraits merge, and the brightly coloured shapes dance around in symbiotic patterns. Gray intends for this to represent people’s interconnectedness, and the way that many individuals’ efforts have merged in order to see us through.