Image 1: 5.15 Angels have gone
Image 3: The Channel
Made in 2021, very close to home now, refugees are drowning right on our shores, while laws are being created that would punish anyone who helps save them. The term Hostile Environment fills me with shame. Our Home Secretary is increasingly punitive not even recognizing her own family’s part in being immigrants.
The standing figures with arms linked, in the foreground, are rejoicing that they have made it while we know that their troubles are only just beginning. They will have no right to work or claim benefits and it will be years before they get the ok to stay or the refusal. They will have left many family behind. Near the surface bodyless heads float.
This is because I came across an African artist called Ado Foah whose artwork was about paying homage to the ancestors. His way of remembering the millions taken as slaves was to make clay heads and some of them he left in water looking up at the sky. He said the head was the most important part of the body because it housed the soul.
I came to be making the linked figures as part of a Tower of Babel because I do an art class close to a building that is being pulled down. It is a round building wrapped in plastic and they are reducing it floor by floor. I know the story ended with God delivering a punishment that left people unable to understand each other, babbling. Much of the world at the moment seems unwilling to understand anyone different from themselves.