Clare Brumby: 45K

45K is a piece of mobile phone photography, created to explore the prevailing gender divide in the UK and across the rest of the world, which has been further exposed during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Since lockdown started across the UK in March 2020, banana bread recipes have increased by 525%, becoming the nation’s favourite recipe and 45,000 plus images of the dish have been posted on Instagram from the UK in April 2020 alone.

Shot in the style of a humble and homely Instagram photo, 45K may appear to be just another image of this wholesome treat, filling up the worldwide lockdown Instagram feed, but it also serves as a reminder of the persistent gender divide that’s been so clearly exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic – particularly so, through the expectation placed upon women to juggle their jobs, childcare and homeschooling their children during lockdown, whilst men focus on being the main ‘breadwinner’. Add into the mix that, overall in the UK, women caring for children are already potentially at risk of being £45,000 worse off in pension savings, the current pandemic could prove to be a recipe for disaster for most UK women.

On a personal level, lockdown has raised similar themes of visibility and restriction, as well as a fascination with our increased reliance on social media and other digital platforms to sustain our desire for deep, human connection with the outside world during this time. In response to these themes, 45K takes the image of the nation’s favourite lockdown loaf – and our ongoing obsession with social media food posts – as an opportunity to initiate an unmuted dialogue exposing the real story of the gender divide, and provide a sense of hope that the conversation will continue long after lockdown is lifted.

Clare Brumby: 45k

‘Banana bread tops the list of Brits favourite lockdown baked treats’., 30th April, 2020.

‘I feel like a 1950s housewife’: how lockdown has exposed the gender divide’. The Guardian, 3rd May 2020. Research carried out by the Observer, found that during the lockdown, mothers in the UK typically provide at least 50% more childcare as well as spending around 10% to 30% more time than father’s home schooling their children.

‘Women caring for children £45,000 worse off in pension savings’., 18th October 2019.

About Clare

Clare Brumby

Clare is socially engaged, interdisciplinary artist creating moving image, sound, performance, live art, site specific installation, written work and photography. She explore themes of identity, culture, gender, memory, ritual and displacement, working closely with collaborators to challenge perceptions and create positive social change. Clare is currently undertaking a Time & Space residency at Metal, Liverpool developing her project plan for Salt Act, a project funded by Arts Council England, exploring ideas of nonviolence, truth and dialogue. Since June 2018 she has collaborated with North Wales based artist, Trish Bermingham on The Wall Dedicated to Lost Places a durational, site specific installation incorporating live performance, which has been performed at HAUS Studios, Llandudno, Liverpool Independent Biennial and LLAWN, Llandudno.

Twitter: @clarebrumby
Instagram: @artistclarebrumby
Facebook: @artistclarebrumby

RISE Together on BBC Radio Merseyside

Want to find out more about the RISE Together programme? Culture Liverpool’s Head of Arts & Participation and RISE curator, Alicia Smith, took part in the below BBC Radio Merseyside interview with Jermaine Foster. Just press play and skip to 51.50 to catch up now.