PREVIEW: The Covid Letters, The Foundling Museum

The Foundling Museum is set to stage the first exhibition by fashion provocateur Jonny Banger from the 24th October.

(c)Sports Banger.

The Foundling Museum Trustee Jeremy Deller has invited Jonny Banger, designer and owner of subversive fashion label Sports Banger, to show the work he gathered from the nation’s children during lockdown.

A selection of over 200 works will be displayed as part of the new exhibition The Covid Letters, which will be on display from the 24th October.  

As the country went into lockdown, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, wrote a letter intended for every household in the UK, urging residents to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. In response, Banger invited young people, under the age of 16, to customise the letter, as a way of articulating their feelings – including about the Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, and the NHS. The social media call out was straightforward: ‘if you’ve received a letter, design a poster’. The rules too were simple: you must be under 16 years of age, draw straight onto the letter itself and ‘no digital’.

The designer received entries from across the UK, from toddlers to teenagers, which ranged from a simple scribble and calls to support the NHS with more PPE, to anti-government graffiti. Using pens, pencils, paint and collage, children took the opportunity to make their voices heard. Banger shared images of these ‘defaced’ letters on his Instagram feed, giving children a platform on which to share their views. All of the children who entered received a certificate (making them an honorary pirate of the ‘Banger Fleet’), a bootleg Blue Peter badge, and a couple of t-shirts. 

Speaking about the project, Banger said: ‘I couldn’t be happier using my platform to give kids a voice. Little anarchists spreading joy. The Foundling Museum is an important part of the social history of London and the UK, it’s story more relevant than ever. I’m so happy the exhibition is showing here, it actually means something.’

The Covid Letters will be on display at The Foundling Museum from the 24th October until the 11th April 2021.

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