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Masked Up

Artist Statement:

During lockdown I produced at least one piece of art each day to document events relating to primarily coronavirus and its impacts but also other key events I am involved in as both an artist and as an activist and do document my feelings, emotions and reactions to these events. The creation of the art was also an act of self-care in what was a challenging and uncertain and worrying time for all of us. As a trade union and community campaigner my days were filled with negotiations, campaigning, organising and responding to events, protections for workers, support for members, lobbying government and more so whilst creation of the artwork was not really switching off it was a way of processing what was happening each day. Alongside coronavirus impacts I also documented events related to the murder of George Floyd and the black lives matter movement and campaigning for justice for the Windrush generation which is something I have been doing for many years. I chose to create digital pieces in the main as it was a way that I could create quick pieces of art at the end of long days of work. BAME people have both contracted and died from coronavirus disproportionately and this is a theme that runs through many of the art pieces. My work as an artist, writer, activist and campaigner is closely connected and so I sought to keep the messages of my campaigning work alive through the art I created and I posted these on my instagram account each day and other social media platforms.

Artist Works from Left to Right:

Loss of a loved one to coronavirus

Protection for Bus Drivers

Protect all key workers (Workers Memorial Day)

Black Workers Matter Too

Artist Biography:

Zita Holbourne; Poet~Artist~Activist

Zita Holbourne is an award winning human rights and equality campaigner, visual artist, designer, curator, community and trade union activist, poet, author and vocalist.

Zita is part of the UNESCO Coalition of Artists for the General History of Africa and the coordinator and curator of the Roots Culture Identity art exhibition and collective which was established as one of the recommendations of the Trades Union Congress Stephen Lawrence Task Group and provides a platform and black, Asian and minority ethnic artists who are predominantly young..

Zita has exhibited internationally and featured in exhibitions at Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Zita is the Joint National Chair of the Artists' Union England and the National Vice President of the Public and Commercial Services Union.

She is the co-founder and National Chair of BARAC UK, campaigning against racism and injustice and the disproportionate impacts of austerity on BAME workers and communities. She is a co-founder of BAME Lawyers for Justice and BME Lawyers for Grenfell.

Zita is the author of the book Striving for Equality Freedom and Justice which fuses the poetical with the political and is also illustrated by Zita. She is featured in the award winning book Here We Stand, Women Changing the World and a contributor to the anthology New Daughters of Africa.

Zita is the winner of the Positive Role Model for Race at the National Diversity Awards and the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Equality Champion at the Legacy Awards.

She campaigns for Equality, Freedom, Justice and Rights through arts and activism.

You can follow more of Zita's work at or via the following:

Twitter: @baracuk


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