Share Bears

11 June – 4 July 2021

Share Bears is a group show which celebrates 14 new collaborations between 28 members of the BACKLIT creative community, developed during the Covid-19 pandemic. BACKLIT’s Share Bears exhibition focuses on collaboration and a fundamental aim of the show is presenting a nonhierarchical process in which our artist members are presenting work alongside staff members, trustees and volunteers.

Share Bears is about the deeper human understanding and reflection of life experiences, processes and self-reflection which brought the community together during such a challenging time. Themes such as life in lockdown, appreciating your local area, exploring your identity, mental health and connections to loved ones and family are examined.

The subjects should be relatable to everyone as we have shared them collectively as a society during isolation, and the artists are responding and reacting in the work they have created. The show has a positive approach as some people thrived during isolation and it was an opportunity to gives artists a focus and become creative again.

BACKLIT received vital funding, £27,475, from the governments’ Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund, which assists with loss of income due to COVID-19 and was vital to keep the gallery running and support many local artists. We have utilised the funding in a variety of ways to benefit the gallery, artists, and community.

Our Associate and Studio Members have been able to access ‘Share Bears’ workshops delivered by diverse practicing artists, from BACKLIT and other studios, sharing their skills and experiences. The funding will help with the digitisation of artists’ work demonstrating the impact of lockdown.

The show has been carefully curated over two floors of the gallery. To complement the show, we will be exploring more immersive and engaging digital media with a more innovative output and will be encouraging visitors to follow the journey on our social media platforms before and during the show.

Jazz Swali, BACKLIT Assistant Curator and Inclusion Coordinator, who is co-curating the Share Bears exhibition says of the exhibition:

“As the world begins to resume somewhat back to how we were before lockdown, we wanted to present the essence of the Share Bear project and what it provided our community throughout lockdown. Helping bring together a diverse group of experiences, creatives, laughter, newfound connections and the core of it, support for one another. The show consists of 28 of our studio and associate artists, all developing and combining their practices in new ways. We are looking forward to welcoming you all back on Friday 11 June when our doors reopen for you to come and see the variety and depth of these original commissioned works.”

In an effort to be more environmentally sustainable, we will not be producing show brochures, but will be creating QR codes for each piece in the show and so encourage visitors to bring along their phones. For those without phones we will have details of artists participating in the show and their work on the BACKLIT What’s on page.

Free Family Activity Packs are available in the galleries for visitors to take home. Pick one up to explore the work of artist Dominique Golden and create your own family tree.


The show will officially open at BACKLIT Gallery on Friday 11 June and will open to the public on Saturday 12 June when we will open Friday, Saturday and Sundays 12pm – 5pm until Sunday 4 July 2021. Due to the current situation, visitors will need to book their slow on Eventbrite in advance. The show is FREE.

In addition, on Saturday 3 July 2-4pm, BACKLIT Studio artist and teacher Katie Sandoval will be leading ‘Naturescapes’, a FREE outdoor workshop discovering the flowing qualities of inks to create abstract paintings inspired by elements of nature. Participants can also discover the delight of creating their own hand-made photographs using the light of the sun and locally sourced natural forms such as leaves and flowers. No previous artistic experience is required to take part and all materials will be provided. Suitable for participants aged 18+ years.