The importance of understanding and improving dubious, risky and life threatening supply chains around the way we work and live highlights why keeping Grenfell fresh in our minds and linking it in our hearts and history to the same types of supply chains that resulted in the coal slag heap behind an Aberfan primary school collapsing on that school in 1966.
Through the things we say, make and do we can say ‘Never Again’.
Above: Never Again Photomontage of White Rose Group activist John Heartfield (John Hartfield was a black man who was lynched in Ellisville Tenessee for having a white girlfriend.
‘Bigotry cannot be tolerated, war for profit cannot continue without protest, and now we have another demand. Women cannot be treated as if they were objects to be abused’.
In 2019, illustration, art and design flourish because we need cultural nourishment and regeneration: a sense that our lives and stories interconnect, matter and can bring change.
Artists are telling the news that isn’t being told at a time of increasing austerity, hostility and inequalities. Tate Modern held a forum in late June: Artists Who Risk and Artists At Risk
Aine O’Brien of Counterpoint Arts interviewed on Radio 4’s Front Row said artists like Isabel Lima and Bern O’Donoghue place fragility, precariousness and ethics at the heart of their work. There’s an enormous creative and cultural legacy that’s been silenced and marginalised and it’s re-emerging. People who’ve grown and matured in the shadow of inequalities and injustices that become a resource for new kinds of thinking, living and working.
Master Of Illustration Laura Bosley is amazing talent: the beauty of her work is in the assertiveness of her aesthetic: Laura has a way of bringing the things society sweeps into the shadows into her story telling. In her soon to be published graphic novel: Lenity Climbs Money Mountain, Laura explores how Lenity and the town gain the courage, skills and resources to take control of their lives and environment.
Like Johanna Basford, designer/illustrator, Poppy Noor freelance and Guardian columnist, Jack Monroe Phd, activist and food writer, Film Director/Housing Activist Daisy May Hudson Campbell Robb, Head of Nacro, previously Director of The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, creative work now is about the widest sense of social responsibility gained through personal experience.
Laura’s beautiful words and images are the way she was able to interpret a demanding Masters study into income inequality: looking at chart after chart authorising the colourful bars of the wealth divide without empathy or humanity, Laura saw how the bleed of words and images creates a liminal space that needs interpretation. Laura imagined a town where the majority of people lived in the shadow of an enormous mountain of wealth owned by a beast so greedy that his mountain blocks the sun and nothing nor anyone can grow.
There are no plants left and the town is in miserable darkness.
It’s a new aesthetic: news as art stories that won’t be told otherwise. Like Laura, Campbell Robb and Jack Monroe, Daisy May Hudson are asking the important questions about the life chances of people they meet every day. How do we get out of poverty? How do we fight it, expose it?
1.5 million people meet the criteria for destitution every week in the UK. This would mean that you didn’t have toiletries on a couple of days, weren’t able to have a hot meal twice a week and you would probably have slept rough at least once. Jack Monroe talks of a culture of depletion and destitution where being poor is being written off.
This isn’t just any old poverty, this is british attitudinal exclusion poverty. In a way, what we experience now has grown out of the dumbing down of parliament and its inability and unwillingness to represent everyone and everything in society. The aggression, privilege, lobbies of the emerging gig and gang economies over the last thirty years have needed one type of hostile story about people, society and work.
This story while profiting and preying on the poor, (gambling, lotteries, zero hours contracts, poor quality rental contracts that commission migrancy) have prevented parliamentary debate or scrutiny of a much more diverse and vibrant economic model that we can have where new kinds of jobs, ways of working, learning, making a home and living are properly nourished.
Laura’s story work nourishes diversity, broadening the concept of a story frame because it shares a vision, wonder, hope. There’s something really rejuvenating in visualising a problem.
It’s the kind of thinking, working, making creativities that took the former Seely Primary school into a brilliant community ballet school and listed building and now into the diversities catalyst it is now as Primary (gallery, bakery, canteen, garden, community central) blooming through the work of generations of cultural compost.
Jack Monroe talks about the structural causes of suicidal situations.
Instead of a social environment that accepted and nurtured her as a working class woman with a child, the opportunities for social mobility are more and more like gambling and winning without much humanity.
She thought about ending her life because she wan’t able to engage with anything. She didn’t belong. Jack wrote about ‘Filing my life away to end it’ to her 17 blog readers. Incredibly the story was read and shared 2 million times.
Seven years on Jack is still coming to terms with the effects of media exposure and fights still for a broader understanding of who we are and who we can be. Noone can tell your stories… until you write your story you don’t have a future.
Laura trained as an artist, knowing and feeling that she wanted to produce something unique. Moving to Nottingham to study her MA at NTU has been like finding a creative home. A good move, she would say: her partner has been brilliantly supportive and Nottingham feels full of prospects.
I’d say the creative relationship is a reciprocal one and we’re very lucky to have Laura with us in Nottingham. A potentially wonderful talent that will nurture and develop a gentle humanity in all her readers.