“Don’t learn to love your Covid cage” says Purbeck artist

An art installation of people in cages has popped up on the top of Creech Barrow Hill near Corfe Castle, to shine light on the way Covid has changed our lives and how readjusting to a freer life may be daunting, as many become accustomed to their “caged lives”.

The temporary installation is illuminated at night and can be seen from many parts of Purbeck – from Swyre head to Wareham and from Creech Manor to Furzebrook until Tuesday 22nd June 2021.

During the day, Creech Barrow, the highest conical hill in England can be climbed via a public footpath.

People in cages art installation
Eilidh Middleton and people in cages art installation

Eilidh Middleton with her art installation ‘Covid Cages’ on top of Creech Barrow Hill

The sculptures are about subjugation and its effect on people

To mark Monday 21st June, which was meant to be Freedom Day from Covid rules but now delayed, local artist Eilidh Middleton says the sculptures are about subjugation and its effect on people, whether it’s through health issue concerns, disease, slavery, or the pressures produced by lesser responsible branches of mass media.

The large cages are made from local hazel and English hemp to echo the ancient structures used to imprison humans.

Abstract life sized figures in poses of despair and subjugation have been placed in the cages and lit so they act as beacons at night.

She’s dedicated the artwork called ‘Covid Cages’ to the NHS and the UK’s supporting services.

People in cages art installation illuminated
Jane Haycocks
People in cages art installation illuminated
Jane Haycocks
People in cages art installation illuminated
Jane Haycocks

The sculptures illuminated at night by solar powered lights

“It’s easy to become too inward thinking”

Eilidh Middleton said:

“It is a show but when I’m up here on the top of this hill looking out across the Purbeck countryside to the sea, it feels more serious.

“I can see, even among some of my friends, that many people have changed their outlook during lockdown and not always for the better.

“Of course there’s extroverts that can’t wait to break out and start going out again, but those who are socially reluctant are going to be less well equipped to deal with social interaction after lockdown.

“It’s been tough for single women and men and while some couples have become more snuggly, there’s also been people stuck in bullying and abusive relationships – lockdown has affected people in many ways.

“It’s easy to become too inward thinking – fixations and paranoia can become magnified. But so accustomed have we become to our safe and secure caged lives which we have been either persuaded or forced to conform to, but which are now, conversely, so comforting to many.

“I’m not in denial over Covid – we need to do what is necessary to keep people safe – take vaccinations etc. My point is that people shouldn’t learn to love their cage – that’s not healthy.

“I’m all for following the guidelines but beware of the effects all this has on our mental health – that’s my message!”

People in cages art installation
Eilidh Middleton and People in cages art installation

More information

  • Eilidh Middleton is a self funded artist which she says allows her the freedom to comment on political and environmental issues.
  • She works with local materials and regularly repurposes them so there is little waste.
  • More of Eilidh Middleton’s work is on Instagram at eilidh.space

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