Small Steps and Art Activism

Ver 0.28N

Last Thursday saw Small Steps events take over Make on North Liverpool Docks.

Small Steps runs events to highlight social issues through the arts. Last Thursday saw an eclectic mix of performance, a breathtaking visual arts exhibition and engaging workshops drawing attention to Mental Health.

Cork-based artist Ann Mechelinck showed us how craft-based practice can highlight mental health issues with several pieces she exhibited at Make. Mechelinck spent many years living and working in Belgium as an administrator. On her return to Ireland, she decided to re-engage with her creative passions and began a body of study Crawford College in Cork. The most prominent of her works in the exhibition was ‘Release’. In this, she explores the restrictions we face in life by materialism, relationships and expectations. Using a knotted structure which she allows this to
‘Release’ free onto the floor. An exceptional fibre artist using structuring techniques to explore mental well-being.

Rebecca Hancock brought some intensely scratched text art to the exhibition. Hancock is a recent graduate from Central St Martins in the Capital. She uses her work to express; fantasies, hopes and dreams, but equally, vulnerability, anxieties and fears. The work exhibited ‘March 2016-Present Day’ presents hand scribed re-writing of eight months of diary entries. The period covers changes in medication and severe depressive episodes combined with panic attacks and anxiety. Raw, unmoderated, expression of coping and not coping with evolving cerebral turmoil.

We were taken on a journey by Moscow based film-makers Diana Galimzyanova and Artem Gavrilyuk-Bozhko. Galimzyanova’ rapidly expanding collection of award-winning short films have been shown at more than sixty festivals and fifteen countries. ‘Painting the Abyss’ came to Make last week stunning its audiences. The actor begins to paint his face with a light reflection of a cross central to the screen. As black is added the face paints formate into a type of warpaint, a kind of camouflage. As this progresses, old-dated, black and white train travel scenes are superimposed onto the footage. The narrative climaxes as the actor drops his head back and looks towards the ceiling. He marks a cross on each side of his neck indicating where to cut was an assumed knife. This progresses into the removal of the paints from the face. Powerful use of moving image which confronts us with the grim realities of ending one’s life.

Painting the Abyss

Not forgetting the painted works of Philip Chandler identifying with long-term depression. Gender roles were challenged by the embroideries of Jonathan Beavon. The floor space was occupied by another showing of Alison Little’ SV: Sex by Violence in Liverpool.

A remarkable exhibition, a fully engaging evening and evidence that art activism can make a real difference.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Small Steps

Make

Ann Mechelinck

Rebecca Hancock

Diana Galimzyanova

Take away Lobster to Liverpool

Ver 0.28N

‘All the Fun of the Fair’ is the latest installation from Liverpool based artist Alison Little. As part of the Liverpool Independent Biennial, it is being exhibited at 5 Bold Place. She presents a scene based in the American seaside resorts of Maine Country where the lobster is king and sold from the takeaway food stalls which litter the coastal towns.

Alison Little is an Artist and Writer, though her work she looks to combine her creative practice across visual arts and literature. ‘All the Fun of the Fair’ in its first concept is a short story of a young student who is raped during a summer placement in fairground town in the United States. This was written by Alison Little and has been published on her Blog in addition to several zines. This has been developed into a full chapter for the novel she is writing: Casual Nexus. In combination with the creative writing process, Alison produced a giant, man-size Lobster made from a process of creating a polythene shell and filling this with shredded paper. As an artist, she has been developing this technique for several years and often identifies similar subject matters of sexual violence and mental health. The lobster was exhibited for Sound City in the Baltic Triangle in combination with a reading of the original fictional source in May of 2018.

‘All the Fun of the fair’ the installation suspends the giant lobster form in the windows of Bold place. The inner side of the works contains statements related to the violation which can be read when looked at the mirrors located on the lower level. Sand runs across the bottom of the installation, covered by an arrangement of broken beach toys and discarded low-cost trinkets. These elements suggest American, Maine County, in particular, beach holiday debris. We present a New England seaside town where the lobster is prominent on the takeaway food stalls which line the Seafront.

In the initial short story, the rapist is transformed into a giant lobster, the girl unable to move throughout the act. To the underside of the shelled creature, we have a collection of statements relating to sexual predication. ‘Invade’, ‘Assailant’ and ‘Molestation’ are all prominent terms amongst the others present. The broken mirror is positioned to the lower side of the giant sea creature, this allows the viewer to position themselves to read the terms from different angles.

The ground space of the installation is cover with sand to suggest the golden beaches of the North American seaside towns. However, the beach area is covered in litter to suggest adverse lifestyles. The discarded freezer blocks and pick nick cups, in addition to food stall waste, set the scene for an unpleasant beach holiday. The prominently positioned coffee cup displays a label from Maine County, combined with a Portland Take away lobster box indicate the New England North Atlantic Coast. The end of games and childhood fun are presented through the broken and lost assemblage of outdoor toys. The burst and deflating paddling pool suggest an end to the innocence of infancy. An indication of celebration but also destruction are introduced by the exploded firework and the burst balloon. Could this be a fourth of July party gone wrong? Cheap State side Larger is forefront in the window display, Budweiser cans convey a seafront drinking party where the cans have been swigged down at pace. The presence of rough sleepers, or more commonly terms vagrants is given through the squashed, toxically coloured cider bottle. The American term these individuals ‘Bums’, they are present in these towns during the summer months, they travel to the resorts when the population swells to solicit the tourists. On a darker note, we are presented with narcotics, the indication of a luminously coloured crack pipe, surrounded by packets of Rizzla, cigarette papers used to inhale cannabis. Do we have a scene of destruction where intoxication of controlled substances is a factor? Ultimately, we have a final item of sexual debris, a Durex wrapper, the Transatlantic term being ‘Sheaf’. Has there been a sex act gone wrong, a liaison which has ended in devastation?

On first inspection we see a Transatlantic beach holiday representation, on deeper investigation we see a holiday gone wrong. We see destruction and devastation, we see negativity and hostility.

Dates: 3 August – 3 September, 2018
Location: 5 Bold Place, Liverpool, L1 9DN

See Map

Times: 07:30 to 23:00 daily (viewing from street)


Art In Windows is a small organisation that works with landlords and artists to commission and curate temporary and permanent art works for display in empty windows in and around Liverpool.
Art in Windows

The Liverpool Biennal Independents runs from the 18th of July until the 28th of October.
Independents Biennial

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

ED

Ver 0.28N

ED

Erectile Dysfunction

‘ED’ is the latest conceptual based sculpture from Alison Little identifying issues around impotence.

In the works, she utilises similar techniques of constructing a polythene outer shell then simply ‘Stuffing’ the form with shredded paper. A concrete base is used to engage with a free standing frame, approximately 1 meter tall in height. The use of red tones to show the rush of blood to the groin area, grey papers filling the sex organs to indicate a lack of response. A black cord is lashed around the foreskin area then brought through the scrotum, finally being attached to a traditional style weight to emphasize the lack of ability to gain an erection.

The main lower body of the sculptural piece to be filled with printed statements of relevance to impotence. A range of colloquialisms such as lame and limpet, moving towards more scientific terms such as infertility and erectile dysfunction. The progressing to the psychology behind the issue: masturbation from much before the teenage years and the extremes of men who are unable to perform in normal sexual circumstances but can gain an erection in a sexual violence situation.

The weight attached to the end of the penis highlight how it cannot become erect, on a secondary note it is bell shapes and echoes the popular English Pun where the term ‘Bell End’ is used in reference to the glands (Head) part of the penis.

On the surface level an entertaining piece, on deeper inspection a thought-provoking collection of statements informing us of the darker side of human nature.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Suspended: Bold Place

Ver 0.28N

The Female Suspension

The female suspension takes over 5 Bold Place until the 8th of April. The lower bodies were hooked through the groin and suspended from chains earlier in the week. In the shadows of the Bombed Out Church, Bold Place lies directly beside St Luke’s Church, Liverpool City Centre.

The Female suspension is an installation which addresses a world of sexual violence. The lower bodies and limbs of numerous women who have been raped are suspended by chained, hooks penetrating their groins. Meat like, a waste product, violated then disposed of like an animal carcass meat still to be stripped from the bones.

This will be the fourth installation to take over at 5 Bold place as part of the art in windows project. Art in Windows is a small organisation that works with landlords and artists to commission and curate temporary and permanent artworks for display in empty windows in and around Liverpool.

The form is a female abdomen and legs extending down to the feet. Each represents a rape victim, The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate:

Global estimates published by WHO indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

(WHO, media centre, Violence against women, fact sheet, updated November 2016)

The charity Rape Crisis England and Wales respond to an average of 3,000 calls per month from women who have been raped. In November 2017 there were 422 recorded violent and sex offences recorded in Liverpool alone. It is estimated that only one in every ten incidents of rape are reported to the Police: the actual figure is projected to be much higher.

Polythene and shredded paper are used to create each of the sculptural works, red toned papers are used around the groin area to reflect the pain suffered from the attack. Wire wool is used to represent the pubic hair, this demonstrates resistance from the violation. The lack of upper body and stones in the feet show a woman who was unable to oppose the onslaught. The hook is driven through the groin area, this enables us to reflect upon the extreme violence used in sex attacks. We view the forms suspended in a commercial environment, infinite in number and we are given the impression that more will simply be added to the collection.

Alison Little, the artist behind the Female Suspension, she has been North -West based for the last decade and worked on commissions from the Superlambanana trail to the Penguins. Her most recent conceptual works are SV: Sex by Violence, a series of four animated sculptures which show the different stages of a sex attack. Alison helps Organise the Reclaim the Night March held in spring in Liverpool annually. The intentions behind the exhibition as a means of activism against sexual violence and to play its role in her campaign work.

The Female Suspension which will shock, inform, evoke debate and lead to social reform in direct regards to Rape crime.

Alison Little, the artist behind the Female Suspension will be talking to Ngunan Adama about the Installation to be broadcast on Radio Merseyside Sunday 11/03/18 from 8 till 10 pm.

Radio Merseyside

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Artist Talk: The Female Suspension

Legs one image copy

The Female suspension is an installation which addresses a world of sexual violence. The lower bodies and limbs of numerous women who have been raped are suspended by chained, hooks penetrating their groins. Meat like, a waste product, violated then disposed of like an animal carcass meat still to be stripped from the bones.

This will be the fourth installation to take over at 5 Bold Place as part of the art in windows project. Art in Windows is a small organisation that works with landlords and artists to commission and curate temporary and permanent artworks for display in empty windows in and around Liverpool. Windows have varied from those in empty shops in the city centre and on local high streets, to empty units in shopping centres and even in houses on residential streets. Art in Windows’ displays range from a single installation for two weeks, to a series of different installations across many months.

The form is a female abdomen and legs extending down to the feet. Each represents a rape victim, The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate:

Global estimates published by WHO indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

(WHO, media centre, Violence against women, fact sheet, updated November 2016)

The charity Rape Crisis England and Wales respond to an average of 3,000 calls per month from women who have been raped. In April 2017 there were 422 recorded violent and sex offences recorded in Liverpool alone. It is estimated that only one in every ten incidents of rape are reported to the Police: the actual figure is projected to be much higher.

Polythene and shredded paper are used to create each of the sculptural works, red toned papers are used around the groin area to reflect the pain suffered from the attack. Wire wool is used to represent the pubic hair, this demonstrates resistance from the violation. The lack of upper body and stones in the feet show a woman who was unable to oppose the onslaught. The hook is driven through the groin area, this enables us to reflect upon the extreme violence used in sex attacks. We view to forms suspended in a warehouse environment, infinite in number and we are given the impression that more will simply be added to the collection.

Alison Little, the artist behind the Female Suspension, she has been North -West based for the last decade and worked on commissions from the Superlambanana trail to the Penguins. Her most recent conceptual works are SV: Sex by Violence, a series of four animated sculptures which show the different stages of a sex attack. They were exhibited in a solo show at zauhause gallery, Gostins Hanover Street (Liverpool City Centre) in July of 2017. In the months prior to this, she curated a group show ‘Shatter the Silence, Violence against women’ held at the Quaker Meeting House, School Lane (Liverpool City Centre). ‘Life from the Waist Down’ is the fourth of the series, representing the recovery process it was exhibited at Unit 51, Baltic Triangle (Liverpool) for 2016 Mental Health week. On the previous year she showed Brainscape as similar human head form and in 2014 Bipolar B was created for the celebrations at the Williamson Gallery in Birkenhead. In 2016 she worked on a commission for the race equality centre in Derby where a polyethene figure and a broken wheelchair were created to draw attention to race hate crime. Her first work relating the sexual violence was in 2014 for the Speaking Out exhibition at Embrace Arts, University of Leicester. The work was exhibited and Alison attended the Speaking Out conference where she addressed the delegates on the thought processes behind her work. Prior to that, she ran a successful funding bid and project managed the prospering ‘Rags Boutique’ as part of the ‘Shops up Front’ scheme from Liverpool City Council. This was an exhibition space and workshop venue was the use of found object was utilised to maximum effect. Alison helps Organise the Reclaim the Night March held in spring in Liverpool annually. The intentions behind the exhibition as a means of activism against sexual violence and to play its role in her campaign work.

The Female Suspension which will shock, inform, evoke debate and lead to social reform in direct regards to Rape crime.

Exhibition runs from the 5th of March, 5 Bold Place, Liverpool, L1 9DN

Free view from Street location.

Artist Talk to be held on International Women’s Day, Thursday the 8th of March from 6.30-7pm. Talk starting at Bold Place then either being held inside or to be moved to another location possible to be provided by John Moores Uni. Details to be confirmed, to book:

Free Ticket

Art in Windows

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

In the Red Dress I Wear to Your Funeral

Fabric of fa 019

In the Red Dress I Wear to Your Funeral is a poem written by Erin Belieu which appears in her latest book Black Box. The textiles based machine embroidery was created by Alison Little as a response to the poem. Erin has kindly given her permission to use the poem as the subject matter for the artwork and for the poem to be reproduced for this article.

 

In the Red Dress I Wear to Your Funeral

—ERIN BELIEU

1.

I root through your remains,

looking for the black box. Nothing left

but glossy chunks, a pimp’s platinum

tooth clanking inside the urn. I play you

over and over, my beloved conspiracy,

my personal Zapruder film—look,

here’s us rounding the corner, here’s me

waving at the crowd. God, you were lovely

in your seersucker suit. And weren’t we happy

then, before the cross-fire triangulation?

Answer me, dead man.

Wait. Here comes the best part,

where my head snaps back and you crawl

blood-addled and ferocious

from the moving vehicle….

2.

I am undead and sulfurous. I stink like a tornado.

I lift my scarlet tail above your grave

and let the idiot villagers take me

in torchlight

one by one by one by one….

Your widowed Messalina, my soprano

cracks the glasses on the buffet at the after party.

I know you can hear me.

Is my hair not coiffed like the monster’s bride,

lightning bolts screeching at my temples?

What electrified me

but your good doctor’s hand alone?

3.

I’m a borscht-belt comedienne

working the audience from behind

your headstone.

I shimmy onstage between Pam

And Her Magic Organ and

the gigantic poodle act.

Your coffin is a tough room.

Mourners talk through my set,

down schmutz-colored highballs, wait

for the fan dancer to pluck

her scuzzy feathers. But you

always loved

the livestock, didn’t you?

I say how many of you folks are in

from Jersey?

The microphone sweats

like your cock did in my hands.

4.

I help the Jews drape the mirrors. I peel the foil from

the Protestant’s bleak casseroles. The Catholics and Agnostics

huddle in the parking lot, smoking a memorial bowl.

My dear, even the worst despot in his leopard skin fez

will tell you: the truth doesn’t win, but it makes an appearance,

though it’s a foreign cavalry famous for bad timing and

half-assed horsemanship. History will barely remember that you

were yellow and a cheat, a pixilated bi-valve who consumed

as randomly as the thunderheads pass, and yet, how strange,

how many of us loved you well. So tenderly, I’ll return

what you gave me—a bleached handkerchief, a Swiss army knife

bristling with pointless blades. Tenderly, I return everything,

leaving my best evidence in your bloodless lap

5.

I go to our Chinese take away,

where the placemats say I’m a snake

and you were my favorite pig, though

astrologically you were a wasting

disease and I’m the scales of justice.

Coincidence?

Get down on your knees

and cross yourself all you want:

all systems are closed systems, dead man.

I keep my saltshaker holstered in my garter belt,

ready to spill.

6.

I recite the fairy tale

in which only I can save you: it’s our story,

so there’s a swamp instead of a forest,

and no trail but a river agog with water moccasins

winding through the cypress knees.

Your faithful Gerta, true sister

in my red pinafore,

I’ve tracked you doggedly for miles,

appearing at the critical moment,

when you take the Turkish Delight into your mouth.

I’ve arrived just in time!

It’s impossible to miss me, eager as a stain

behind the Swamp Queen’s white shoulder,

your tattered avenger, your loyal roach, who’s wanted only

you in every suppurating hut, who’s belly-crawled

through the shit-filled bogs to find you,

to whom you gave your vow, my will undone, family

asunder, my home disappeared by the charm of

your girlish tears…

and that’s it. Nothing comes next.

That’s the moment you decide, dead man.

You look into my face and gulp her

candy down. You shoot it like a bad oyster.

No matter

how I tell it, this world ends when

you swallow.

7.

I was never your Intended,

never meant to be the official widow

like that plain, chinless girl I refused to recognize

or comprehend.

But the plain ones are patient, aren’t they?

I’ll admit, she’s earned her orchestra seats

at this burial the old-fashioned way.

She’s up front, next to your mama,

that Chanel commando baked medium-well

in her spray-on tan. A rare example

of the real Southern lady, how many nights

did it cost her, patrolling

the family compound for Jezebels like me?

Your women, dead man. From here

they look like two snap peas squatting

in the same pod.

And they did their job, didn’t they?

They made it easy for you?

But later, once the ladies go,

I’ll climb down to you again.

I’ll come to you in that dirty box

where we’ve already slept for years,

keeping our silent house

under their avalanche of flowers.

8.

EYE AM THE PROMISED VISITATION

PRIESTESS OF BLACK POPLARS

MY TREES R HUNG W/ BRAZEN BELLS

EYE HAVE AUGURED THE PREGNANT SOW’S INTESTINES

RORSCHACHED                    THE PICKLED WORM

GLUED TO THE BOTTOM OF YR SHOT GLASS

EYE BRING U NEWS OF                  THE UNIVERSE

AND THE NEWS                 AINT GOOD               DEAD MAN

B-HOLD!

THE ZOMBIE COCKTAIL HOUR            OF THE YEARS TO CUM

A PURGATORY            UNBENDING AS
A BADLANDS

HI-WAY

IN THE T-LEAVES               EYE SPY YR OUTLINE

YR CORPSE                  SNORING IN A VINE-

STRANGLED HOUSE

REBEL DRAG MOUNTS THE WALLS                    LIKE A CONFEDERATE

HARD ROCK CAFÉ                O! THE BLURRED DAYZ

COLLAPSING INTO DINNERS                  WHILE THE MAID BURNS

THE FAMILY BISCUITS                  & YR WOMAN BEATS

THE GRAVY STIFF                  U ARE LOST
GANYMEDE            GONE THAT BOY

WHO POURED HIMSELF                  WHOLE INTO THE SIBYL’S

LOVING CUP                NOW EYE CUM
TO BURY U

4 EYE AM
THE GHOST OF X-MAS PAST                      AND YR FUTURE

BEGINS          NOW                 DEAD MAN

9.

I do not desist in my delusion    do not permit the victor’s history

will not admit your fake religion    what jams your fingers

in the dry vagina of tin idylls    will not    will not    go quietly

your evil goody    who cries me in the marketplace    who knocks

my ear to the pillory with false instruments    my crimes never

crimes    for firstly    I be the pretty pony of all plague    slant-gashed

a coil beneath my scum of loveliness    No!    I was    I always am

your yellow roses in a beer bottle    your weakness and reward

one organ    conjoined in the blue tipi    of floating whistles

doubled thunder coming    in my wicked mouth    to eat you and your

grandma    too    Name her! Name her    who bites you harder    little girl!

Will not say    for seconds I am filth    dirty as the damaged apple    I bore

not yours    never yours    that unspeakable sunshine    Turn your head!

Turn your head    and I’ll kindly cut it off    Yes Yes    the best reason    I am

left only    the mother of a great sun    you would go blind and    blinder to look

upon its number and    for finally I am not    of your being    being Queen

of the flat kingdoms what crop your emptiness    I do not admit these    nor

I lied    nor I betrayed    nor I am starving    for you    nor can you make me

never    Will    I disappear

10.

I peel myself

and wherever these rubied

feathers drop, a poppy unfurls

in the graveyard, each head plush

as a stitched lip.

You’re right,

it gets me high, how thin I am, my

love, the substance uncontrolled.

But this molting becomes me,

your naturally-occurring razor,

your baby I.V. Now I am fashioned

the gun so truly fired

I blast like a magic cap through

my own skin. So go on,

throw the bones

to your hairy pack and let them gnaw.

I’m done with the meat. Soon, I’ll be

demolished. I’ll step away free.

at Length

Pet Portrait Presents

golden for print

Delightfully hand embroidered pet portrait delivered in time for Christmas. An exciting new service offering hand embroideries renditions of your loving pet. Above we see the latest completed, a glorious long haired golden retriever, coating a joy to replicate, natural threads in golden glory.

Canines, felines, of the feathered and scaled varieties and equestrian for those of us who are better off……….stables and manor houses can be included in the background of the image. Christmas scenes can be incorporated, white fluffy things shrouded in snow, fish in tinsel lined tanks.

A unique service, from your own photographs, either provided digitally of using the snail-paced services of Royal Mail. The images are enhanced using the latest graphics software and cropped to the desired size, then printed directly onto canvas. The designs are then embroidered by hand, painstaking attention to detail is given, care in the application a primal concern.

Alison Little is one of the North-West’ most progressive textiles artists, exhibiting at leading arts venues in Liverpool and across the UK. She has her embroideries on sale directly to the public from Arts Hub on Lark Lane. Embroidery from photographs printed directly the canvas is a pioneering technique which she has evolved, unique to her practice. A is a Director and teaches embroidery for the newly formed Liverpool Independent Art School.

A £50 deal is on offer, a framed image of your prized pet:

Frame size 26x31cm

Embroidery size 14x9cm

(Approximately, some variation may be necessary)

Delivered directly to your door. Get in touch for inquiries in regards to larger sizes or specific requests.

For more detail:

little re-makes website