A Void

womb

A Void

In this, I have agreed to what was termed ‘A life modelling process’ for an artist seeking volunteers for a project he is working on. I stand before him in my dressing gown, nude underneath and wondering what he wants me to do, he tells me:

‘Don’t worry, I have done this lots of times before.’

From this, I am somewhat reassured, but still, air a little caution.

‘I just need you to lie down so I can paint you with latex.’

In this he shows me the latex, it’s white and when he paints a little of my arm it feels cold but pleasant on my form. I agree to the process and he helps me untie my dressing gown belt, although naked I feel comfortable in front of him, he has put me at ease.

I lie down under his direction and move into the position he needs me to be in. He starts painting around my neck area, slowly but surely working his way down. He is careful but professional as he covers my breasts, making sure he only touches my nipples with the horse hair bristles of the paint brush.

Working his way further down my body he comes to the groin area. I become nervous again, worrying about what he is about to do.

‘Relax, I have done this many times before.’

I let my muscles fall low, then with warm air, he blows gently inside myself. From this, like magic, I open right up like a great white shark about to launch an attack.

‘That’s right, good, you’re doing well.’

He directs, then he moves onto his back and slides his head and upper body inside my womb. From this, he begins to paint, carefully and professionally, coating the walls of my womb and ovaries in latex. When he has finished he edges out carefully and puts each hand delicately on the inside of my legs. Then without touching me with his lips he sucks air from the inside of myself. I return to my normal size, at ease with everything going on, amazed at what has been performed by this genius.

From this, he works down my legs in a similar motion. He then turns me over to work on my back and lower body. So relaxed with the brush motion I am almost asleep when he finishes:

‘We just need to wait for it to dry.’

He whispers, in this, he picks up an old fashioned guitar and begins to sing folk songs.

He wakes me up to tell me that it’s time to peel the latex off. I stand up for him and he begins stretching off the suited coating, carefully going over my breasts. After my ribs he stops and places a hand on each side of myself, then he kisses my forehead, gently and childlike in motion. As I smile he gets back to action, working the form off down to my lower body.

After a gentle shake, my womb falls out. Before me, I see its squashed in structure, perfect on the inner coating, but de-revelled on the outer. My ovaries flop out almost deformed and entwined, messy and forlorn. Ahead of me, I see the babies, I will never give birth to and the children I will never raise. The bedtime stories I will never read, the play parks I will never go to, the football matches I will never go to and the school plays I will never attend. In this he finishes the removal process, then he shakes out the body-like creation. He clips it onto a line, in this, it stands tall and strong, an independent being, strong, singular, but of great value.

Alison Little

A Void is a flash Fiction works from Alison Little. This piece was first performed in the Hornby Rooms, Central Library, Liverpool for International Women’s Day in 2018. The subsequent year it read for an event marking the same celebrations held during the 209 Women exhibition marking the centenary of women being able to vote in the UK (Although restricted to those over 30 and with property).

The illustration was also created by Alison Little using a bamboo dip stick pen and Indian ink. It feature a close up of a womb and creates an impression of scarring. She is looking to make a sculptural piece from latex later in 2020 to represent the works.

More about 209 Women exhibition, Open Eye Gallery

Convict Blanket

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Convict blanket is the latest art activism works from concept-based arts practitioner, Alison Little. A sensation to shock and stand against rape, rape culture and the authorities put in place to tackle sex crime within our society.

Convict blanket confronts us with the homage style of using material available, in this case, the humble scratch provoking woollen coverings of the bed. The use of blanket stitch and appliqué reminiscent of techniques used in prison protests where all resources must be reclaimed from the sparse provisions available when incarcerated. The blanket is floor-based, slightly raised to one side. The text and images locate with the nearest edge in which they are placed, allowing the viewer to read the statements as their paths encircle the form. The use of hand-embroidered text reminiscent of the marker pen on corrugated card portrayals commonplace throughout activism. Texts vary in scale, case and font in regards to the emphasis placed on the statement which is being presented. Large bold statements often present definitive assertions, small joined-up style wording is often examples of dialogue and opinions of the minority. The black text looks to address how to reduce the numbers of sex attacks by convicting more rapists. In opposition, the red highlights issues within society and the authorities put in place to tackle sex crime which are failing at every given opportunity. Although male rape is equally as relevant, this identifies with female rape which is statistically committed in greater numbers.

The first of the black text presents a printed abbreviation, ‘HMP‘. This is commonplace within the UK, ‘Her Majesties Prisons’ being the full term and the title for units of incarceration. The larger appliqué fonts present ‘Convict‘ and ‘Rapist‘, indicating an intention for more sex offenders to be serving custodial sentences. This is emphasized in greater detail by a well-defined corner based statement:

We must press for the conviction of more rapists.’

A powerful sentence, stating the motivation behind the activism, the use of the second person to engage the viewer with the protest.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is common among rape survivors is raised within smaller statements. Dressing down as a result of being raped is proposed, backed up by an image of a ‘Hide under’ hoodie. Larger texts draw attention to statistics:

‘1 in 10 rapes are reported to the Police, of these only 1 in 10 lead to a conviction.’

Due to current changes within the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) this figure is currently much lower. The statistic highlights how rape is one of the most under-reported crimes. The statement is reinforced by the pie chart indicating that only 1% of rapes committed lead to a conviction.

Patriarchy is addressed, male supremacy being a factor in why rape is not being tackled effectively. Police apathy over sexual assault cases is presented. Demands towards the recruitment of ‘Strong, capable women,’ are made, requesting women who will prioritise rape over trivia to be brought into the Police Force. Drawing attention to the vulnerability of the rape survivor, showing how there needs should be prioritized. The black statements concluding with the most vital statement of them all, the rapist being ‘100%‘ to blame for rape.

The red text looks to highlight why our society is failing to reduce numbers in terms of sexual assault and punishing more sex offenders through the penal system. The large appliqué terms read ‘Rape Culture’ and ‘Victim Blaming’. Across the blanket, we have statements which highlight examples of victim-blaming, itself a factor within rape culture. Projections of low morals, promiscuous clothing, the rape survivor being presented as ‘The Whore’ and extreme example of ‘Slut-shaming’ are identified. Misconceptions around PTSD are given, many are still not aware that this condition is commonplace with rape survivors. The second delusion of rape being unusual is also stated. Narcotic and alcohol use are presented, suggestions that mild cannabis inhalation could result in hallucinations an example of ignorance. Again, blaming the victim through alcohol consumption, the concept of consenting to sex being overlooked.

Patriarchy being stated, showing the focus of the law to be on protecting men from being falsely accused of rape. How the Police Force is male-dominated, the notion of many of these ‘Men’ having little intentions of acting against rape, in this, recruiting weak, feeble women to actively fail rape survivors. This is developed by drawing attention to the actions of many Police Women, their sole contribution to a rape enquiry to be establishing what happens when they get dressed up, thus providing the opportunity for them to reflect on their superior beauty. The trivial nature of operatives, examples of attire being copied being prioritised as opposed to communicating the nature of the sex attack. This is matched by their counterparts, Policemen, many are only interested in their prowess, continually falsifying reports on how the rape survivor is attracted to themselves. Looking at the attitudes of Police personnel, those who feel that they are not expected to do anything in a rape case, the extremities being the role of the rape victim to protect and shelter vulnerable officers.

Ultimately, the saddest statement of all:

‘It was my fault I was rapped.’

The victims who blame themselves, a factor in why so many crimes are not reported to the authorities.

‘Convict Blanket’, innovative works, at the helm within the spectrum of art activism. Artwork which can challenge misconceptions around rape, concepts which can address issues in society and confront the authorities put in place to act against rape. Ultimately, ‘Convict Blanket’ will lead to the conviction of more rapists, reducing rape crime and proposes a safer society.

Convict Blanket will be exhibited from spring 2020.

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Fine Art Feast

Fine Art feast

Take two lambs legs from Damien Hirst’ calf, ensuring they are free from Formaldehyde.

Remove the chicken from Sarah Lucas’ chicken knickers, saving the underwear for dessert.

Line the chicken with bacon, courtesy of Francis.

Get ready to wash everything down with coke-a-cola from Andy Warhol’ screen prints.

Tell the Guerrilla Girls to take a seat at Judy Chicago’ Dinner Party.

 

Sinister Smiles

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Sinister Smiles

Folded over
Strapped down
Sectioned off
Cajoled, centrally

Dropped down from a disheveled Heaven
Tossed out of Godliness
Rejected from comfort provision for the afterlife
No longer good enough, surplus to requirements

Perhaps pushed out of a boot
Uphill reversing, then shoveled out the back way
Redundant of domestic interior requirements
Rendering green space urban wasteland

Alternatively, a body encasement
A wrap-around, makeshift coffin
A heroin-induced fatality
Disposed of under the extremities of degradation

But from the sinister tatters
We see a smiling face
From the angled geometrics
A striking grin works through
Turning the corners of our mouths
We smile back at the sinister grins face!

 

 

Sinister Smiles is a flash fiction works in response to the mattress shown in the image above. The image was originally posted on social media and the comment made helped to generate the literal works. Originally located in Everton Park, Liverpool, the mattress is no longer present and appears to have been disposed of by the authorities.

Arched: the Mural

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Arched: the Mural was a design submitted for Leeds Kirkgate Market, proposed by Alison Little.

The Mural draws inspiration from the cast iron Victorian arches which adorn the interior of Kirkgate Market.

The central notion of a triangular structure frame is core to the composition. This is to be painted in gold acrylics to echo the lettering used for the entrance from New York Street. The gold tones to complement the lacquered woods used within the traditional interior.

Each section of the triangular arch to be hand-painted, again using acrylics, to represent goods retailing within the nineteenth-century shopper’s paradise.

The mass of strawberries symbolise the fresh produce in terms of food and drink on sale throughout the market. The strawberries of fruit bowls, the flavours of smoothies and the toppings of cakes. Delight within the mural.

The next section presents a mass of yellow buttons, the earth tones working in tandem with the golds of the outer structure. The buttons represent the haberdasheries stalls which are a staple of markets throughout the country. New demands for these stalls being met by the modern trends of ‘Make do and mend’ as opposed to the mass consumer cultures of fast fashion retail and its environmental impact.

A clothing rail, close up in vision, is depicted in the next three-sided space. The concept of the rail being inverted upwards implying movement, the idea of flipping through rails at pace. Again some golden tones intruded to the fabrics, complimenting the colour pallet, suggestions of vintage items to highlight the individual flavours of the modern market place.

Adjacent to this the jewellery sellers defy their small dimensions by making a glimmering appearance. Gold chains hung at a ninety-degree angle to the clothing counterpart. Chain mail which will bring some shine to the design.

Lowering the tone slightly we have some brass clattering its way in. Hardware sellers are presented through the screws, nuts and bolts in addition to the never forgotten washers.

We finish off with the fresh flowers, introducing more colours, delicacy and transparencies to the brushwork of the acrylics.

All these combine to make the completed arch, this is then replicated many times to create the mural. Potentially, the design of each arch could differ to represent goods from each stall-holder on consultation. The geometric forms can spread across the entranceway, interior, exterior or both. Materials to include the use of artists acrylics and yacht varnish to ensure a lasting finish.

A dynamic mural, one which can expand or compact and adapt to its location: Kirkgate Market.

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More about Leeds Kirkgate Market

Graphic Art: Leeds

Leeds banner Main sheet copy

Graphic Art: Leeds was a banner design proposal put forward for North Street in Leeds city centre.

A graphic art piece which will excite and reflect the modern, dynamic, newly cosmopolitan city of Leeds.

The backing tones and the image of greenery reflect the cities status as the unofficial capital of Yorkshire. An image of the Yorkshire Dales, flourishing green fields and neatly crisscrossing hedgerows. Green pod-like representations are added, floating across the parameters of the banner surface. The pods vary in the tone of green to aid the visibility of textual format present. The lower section projects darker tones, the upper lighter shades. Thus, presenting the concept of a natural landscape where the horizon of the land reduces to the blues, or more often, grey’s of the sky.

‘Leeds’ as a heading uses a hand styled script, but is equally rather bold, Artlis font in principle location. A tonal use of yellow draws on the artistic nature of North Street.

The 5 headings feature elements of Leeds’ to be expanded upon, cosmopolitan status. They reflect the nature of the business’ present in the major artery of city centre streets. Non-alignment of the titles are to suggest a dynamic motion. The concept of them being flashed before your eyes in the ever-changing city.

‘Culture’ identifies with Leeds’ strong involvement with the arts. The home of Henry Moore and the birthplace of Damien Hirst, both leading names in British art. The Henry Moore Institue and the Leeds City Art Gallery both highly prestigious within the creative spectrum. A vibrant music scene, an unrivalled club-culture and the major Leeds Festival which partners with its Southern counterpart: Reading. Introducing some performance from the Playhouse, Leeds is a cultural haven.

Equally, a city steeped in ‘History’ presenting an industrial heritage. The former mills of the textiles traditions that expanded rapidly during the Industrial revolution.

‘Shopping’ ‘Food’ and ‘Drink’ represent the business’ present in North St. The clothing retailers, the restaurants and cafe’s, the bars and pubs which align the major city-centre thoroughfare.

Consultation with the business present would allow for modifications to be conducted. The use of yellow could be adapted if a tone of greater significance was proposed. The titles could be added to or reduced, the descriptive word re-applied.

A artists approach which can strengthen and more than meet the needs of the city in which it is intended to compliment.

Leeds banner lamp sheet copy

Redesign: Hockney: Westminster Abbey

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A year ago this week David Hockney’ stained glass window design to mark the reign of Queen Elizabeth the Second was revealed.

The window received many reviews, many positive, many negative.

The Queen was claimed by Hockney to Say:

‘An amazing brightness and clarity, it is a simple, utterly recognisable, direct scene.


From Hockney’ birthplace, the Yorkshire Post stated:

‘It looks like it was painted by a six-year-old.’

 

The Dean, the Very Revd John Hall declared:

‘There’s absolutely no harm in having something which is particularly vibrant and different.’

 

And, I myself, reviewed the window in my article ‘Hockney Smokney’ classified it as being a ‘National Blunder’ in addition to:

 

‘Some kind of organic jellyfish-like form surrounded by randomly positioned pods which bear no relation to the framework of the glass.’

 

So, one year on I have taken it upon myself to create a new design for the window.

and….

..it was much more difficult than I initially imagined….

I have kept with the theme of the Queen and her love for the countryside. More abstract in design I introduced yellows to the uppermost section to imply sunlight. The main bodies of the windows beginning with greens of the land, raising to blues of the sky over the higher sections. The circular elements have the potential to be formed through glass blowing, they introduce the idea of flowers or perhaps blossom. The organic nature of the layout suggests the motion and that of falling.

The result:

I have managed some subtleties.

Is it fit for the Abbey?

No, indeed it is not, perhaps an early concept which could be developed into something of greater standing.

 

Hockeys

Hockney Smokney!