We have travelled over 173,000 miles, 134 days, 100 requests, over 20 countries (including the God’s own county of Yorkshire) and 72 cities. We’ve gone to 15 places of worship, 10 museums or galleries and 5 performance venues.
I’ve been grateful that so many have viewed the tweets, giving me likes from the sidelines, commenting, requesting drawings, supporting through their publications and organisations such as AJ, EG and the NLA, or kindly donating money to charities of their choice and then latterly SSAFA, giving my lockdown a purpose beyond the day to day and together we have raised over £2500 for an amazing charity.
I have been introduced to places I never knew about, and I have been privileged to hear stories about denied places that I have chronicled through the drawings.
For me, the act of drawing has been about capturing a moment, a feeling, and committing it to paper. Frequently, those moments don’t return. The sketch is a reminder. The earliest one for me was done when I was six when my father took me to the roof of our apartment block in Tehran and together we looked at the sunset one last time before we left the country. I committed that moment to memory and then later that evening committed it to paper. My parents still have that drawing. When I look at it, I still remember that night.
It was that memory that encouraged me to do the drawing a day and the desire to do something beyond work and homeschooling during lockdown and why one of the earliest drawings (Day 3) is the view from our house and although the sky isn’t shown, it too was a view at sunset.
A few days later, when an old friend, Pat Brown, suggested that I went beyond a daily sketchbook, to a daily request to draw places that we have been denied due to Covid-19, it no longer was my own personal visual diary but a record of all the places that are special to others during a time when they are out of reach. There is also now an added layer as well of fundraising for SSAFA the armed forces charity and turning it into a sponsored draw with a couple of the drawings being sold as prints from their online shop and potentially more collaborations on the way both with SSAFA and some of the other fabulous organisations I have drawn.
I ended 134 days with the Natural History Museum which has since successfully reopened but more importantly its centrepiece is a whale called Hope, something that will be important in the days ahead.
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