Unlike the Moss Valley shrine which was clearly a single-phase collective assemblage created as one project, the COVID-19 snake at Alyn Waters Country Park is a cumulative votive assemblage. It was set up with a head and an explanatory label pasted to a post by the Bradley Cricket Club entrance. The sign encourages people to paint stones and add them. This is written from the perspective of the snake, and there is the NHS rainbow and the ‘stay safe’ message included. At the time of recording, Alyn had reached c. 45m long and he keeps on growing! Indeed, I wasn’t sure when to post this, as it will be interesting to see how long Alyn will thrive, and when and how she is removed.
Here is a video of Alyn taken 5 June 2020.
Here are a sample of the many stones that comprise the body of Alyn. Some are just fun, some depict gratitude and affiliation with the NHS through words, hearts and the rainbow motif. Other key workers include the police, fire service and HMP.
Yet there is more. At least one links to a favourite place (‘Prague’?), some are didactic regarding social distancing and hygiene (e.g. ‘stay safe’, ‘be safe’), others encourage good will (‘be kind’, ‘love yourself’, ‘hope’ and ‘love’). Further painted stones link to favourite children’s characters, some are of animals and fantasy beasts, others still attempt inspirational statements (‘smile’, ‘be positive’, ‘don’t worry be happy’ & ‘be proud of you’).
One says ‘family is not an f-word’: it’s unclear to me how this fits in…
Some bear the names of their painters.
At least one is actually commemorative of the lockdown itself. Thus, we see a myriad of responses in the lockdown landscape.