Friday, 6 February 2015

Democracy Rocks!

I've been mulling over and working on ideas for the Democracy Rocks project since last year.  Most of the mulling began early last year, some sketches and notes added to this during December and in January I finally began work.

Our Creative Economies Officer Yvette Turnbull at Ryedale District council was quick to commandeer all the decommissioned ballot boxes, seeing the potential for an exhibition to promote the importance of voting and democracy.  The project involves individual artists of which I am one, as well as groups of young people working with artists.

My concept for the piece was always a very long piece of work emerging from the posting slot of the ballot box.  I initially thought the slit would be much wider than it actually is.  This meant that I had to have a very narrow strip of paper emerging from the box.  Not much wider than a standard loo roll in fact. . . . 

Rather than find this a disappointment, I began to enjoy the analogy of politics and shit!  The old dualist ideas that have gripped me in one way or another since college days began to resurface once again; we have our feet on the ground, in the mud and shit, but we aspire to the stars, to something better and more wondrous.  I think this applies to politicians; I am sure they start out with genuine plans to make things better from their starting point in the mud, aspiring to make things infinitely better but they all seem to flounder at one stage or another.  I don't think it is always their fault; there are bigger, more powerful and greedy forces at work to thwart their good intentions.

I believe in voting; women died and suffered extreme pain in prisons, emotional stress and personal hardship during and after their fight to secure me the right to vote.  There is still a long way to go; I find lots of men still find it difficult to accept that I have a brain and opinions, they accuse me of being aggressive, when all I am actually being is articulate and passionate.  I once challenged a man who told me not to be so aggressive, asking him if he would have said it to a man who voiced the exact same opinion as I had just done.  After a few seconds, to give him his due, he admitted that he probably would not!  HAH!

My piece is called The Mud and the Sheen; reference to a quote from a TJ Clark essay I studied years ago; I'll find the exact reference and post it when I do.  The title reflects all of what I have just said, it is about our human condition, about striving for better, failing and trying again.  Repetition, counting, lists, words, joy, engaging with life. . . . . and the importance of voting!

The piece incorporates, collagraph, lino and mono printing so far and I'll be adding silk screened quotes and definitions relating to democracy and tally marks soon.  Plus anything else I feel like!

Text, art work and photos, Sue Gough.  All rights reserved