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Unchained Library

It all started from a little idea that amused Linn Mathias in her studio.

When she watched politicians and medical advisors on the TV, she became aware of the elaborate bookcases they sat in front of.

Their bookcase appeared to be their status symbol, like fast cars and smart suits. Not a whiff of a Barbara Cartland novel or Match of the Day annual. The more senior, the more impressive the bookcase.

In Linn’s studio she has a door space but no door, it can get quite chilly in the winter, so she decided she would put a curtain behind her to keep the draught out.

Her imagination clicked in and the curtain became a canvas that she could paint book spines on – titles that would amuse her & anyone she was talking to via Zoom.

Linn said ‘I was very excited in my arty way and as the project developed, I realised it had substance. Why not make it a project for International Women’s Day? I thought I could ask women for a title of a book they would like to write, a title that could sum up their experience in lockdown.

The only title this project could have on International Women’s Day would be:

The Unchained Library 

A symbol of how far we have come and how far we can go.

Why ‘The Unchained Library”? It’s a modern twist to The Chained Library housed at Hereford Cathedral which represented life during the 17th Century. The Unchained Library will be a representation of women’s lives in the 21st Century.’

Thank you to everyone for their submission to The Unchained Library. They are eclectic, inspirational, imaginative, artistic and emotional. One artist who lost their Uncle to Covid-19 said, ‘this book spine is to demonstrate the love that’s there, even during the hardest times. Making this piece has helped my healing process.’

The Unchained Library will be displayed in the windows at Hereford College of Arts, Folly Lane Campus from Monday 8 March.

We will also be looking for a permanent home so they can remain on display as they represent people’s personal responses to their experience of Covid-19 and lockdown and should never be forgotten.