My new collection of work, 'Uprooted', had two public showings in 2021 - at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham in August and the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate in November.
My textile wall hangings were inspired by the Guardian's supplement, The List, published on World Refugee Day in 2018 and is a natural progression of Exodus, Page 27, the piece made for SAQA's global exhibition, Forced to Flee. The refugee crisis has not diminished since publication of The List and my work seeks to give form and shape to the unnamed victims - to look beyond the raw data, to picture them and to try and capture their emotions.
At both venues my gallery, with its monochrome pieces, was in stark contrast to the other stalls and galleries with their bright colours; it was a haven for quiet reflection as several visitors commented. It was interesting to watch reactions - sometimes the images registered first and at other times the text but always eliciting the reactions I had hoped for - shock, horror and tears.
The main difference between the venues was that the Knitting and Stitching Show took place in term time so there were several parties of students from schools and colleges, keen to speak with me about my work. It was a privilege to explain my inspiration and working practices, and to engage with the younger generation - after all, they are the future.
I also had the pleasure of meeting the talented Katie Hill at the Festival of Quilts. I've been a subscriber to her YouTube Channel, Arnold's Attic, and was delighted to be asked for a 'Meet the Artist' video interview about Uprooted. Thank you, Katie.
These are some of the comments in the Visitors' Book for the Festival of Quilts:
A visceral reaction to very important work A highlight of the exhibition Such powerful representation of loss/lost A very powerful piece - goes straight to the heart Moving and shocking - the detail is horrific Moved to tears by your work - forever grateful you did it. Outstanding An extremely powerful message, which we must never forget So pared down and eloquent Incredibly articulate Stops you in your tracks
And the images below are a few pages from the Visitors' Book at Harrogate:
These pictures show the layout of the gallery, similar at both venues: