Art by Post: Of Home and Hope

Discover more about the artists and artworks inspired by Art by Post

By Google Arts & Culture

Southbank Centre

Art by Post booklet covers

Art by Post launched in May 2020 to provide free creative activities to people across the UK at risk of social isolation, loneliness and digital exclusion. The project commissioned 17 artists to make 11 activity booklets that were sent to over 4,500 participants.

Art by Post Installation at the Southbank Centre (2021)

More than 600 poems, drawings, paintings and mixed media works were posted back in response. 

This led to the exhibition Art by Post: Of Home and Hope which opened at Southbank Centre in September 2021 before touring to a further five venues across the UK.

Take a virtual tour of the Art by Post exhibition at Southbank Centre with it's curator, Persilia Caton as she describes her approach and takes a closer look at some of the artworks.

Installation view at De Montfort University Gallery, by My Linh Le

The exhibition was organised around 3 key themes: Nature, Sound & Movement and Hope.

These categories emerged from the booklets and submitted artworks while also illustrating the basic needs that are vital to us all – green spaces, music, dance, physical activity and human connection.

Art by Post installation view

A thematic selection of framed artworks and audio recordings of poems read aloud by participants were presented alongside three newly commissioned large-scale tapestries and an illustrated publication.

Art by Post Installation

Drawn self-portraits and gratitude lists are brought together into this large-scale collective tapestry titled 'Hope' to represent some of the community, while capturing the optimism and encouragement that this peer-to-peer network supported.

Art by Post installation view at Southbank Centre (2021)

The centre of the exhibition celebrated the home, the location where all the artworks were made. Artist Sofia Niazi created a large batik inspired by participants’ drawings of their own interiors and including adaptations of participants’ artworks.

Art by Post Installation at the Southbank Centre

Sculptural furniture offered visitors a place to write a letter to a stranger or draw a self-portrait. Visitors could then post their artworks to participants who were unable to visit the exhibition, acknowledging that, pandemic aside, many cannot leave their homes.

Appletart (2021)

A selection of recorded poetry was chosen from hundreds of poems sent in by participants and offers hopeful and humorous insights into experiences of isolation. 

Art by Post Sound and Movement
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Recorded remotely over the phone, the crackle in the line and a background noise connect us to a shared experience of place and time: home in 2020 to 2021.

Art by Post Installation at London's Southbank Centre

The exhibition had indoor, outdoor and online elements as Southbank Centre and NASP were committed to ensuring the exhibition was accessible to as wide an audience as possible.

Detail of Art by Post publication, designed and illustrated by Joey Yu (2021)

To highlight the role of social prescribers and link workers, Social Prescribing handouts were available at the exhibition as a resource for visitors to find out more and to signpost to other local cultural activities and organisations that can help and improve wellbeing.

Photography by Elena Gallina, Image courtesy of the Southbank Centre

The exhibition, online gallery and the billboard and bus stop campaign makes visible the spirit and talent of the participants and the dedicated artists and organisations that have supported them.

My Pledge (2021)

Explore the Artworks

This online gallery is available to view here.

It captures the breadth of activities that participants undertook and the amazingly varied responses that were created – from self-portraits and nature inspired collages to poetry.

Art by Post: Touring Poster (2021)

The exhibition tour included six venues during the Autumn and Winter of 2021/22: 


Mill Arts Centre and Banbury Museum & Gallery, Banbury 
Arts Centre Washington, Sunderland 
The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, Canterbury 
HOME, Manchester 
De Montfort University, Leicester

Credits: Story

Exhibition photography by Thierry Bal

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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