Small Steps and Art Activism

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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.

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Small Steps

Make

Ann Mechelinck

Rebecca Hancock

Diana Galimzyanova

Sound City: Performs

Claws

Alison Little, the artist and writer behind many North West based Arts and the creator of this very blog to perform a reading at this weekend’s Sound City.

Sound City is the award-winning Metropolitan Festival set to take over Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle this weekend. The unequalled Festival presents an array of new music and the Arts, re-enforces Liverpool’s cultural heritage. The very best of new acts are to include ‘Slow Readers Club’ and ‘Low Island’ in addition to a variety of acts from all over Europe. Now, over a decade old the Festival is in its eleventh year and looks to be most anticipated to date.

The Unusual Arts Sourcing Company is set to take over the former Cains Brewery site. Named one of the Best things about Sound City 2017 they are back for the second year. We are to join in with life drawing, listen to poetry and watch the operatic performance over the two-day event. Tapas and an array of drinks available from the cafés and bars present in the newly transformed arts venue.

‘All the Fun of the Fair’ is an extract from the Novel ‘Casual Nexus’ which Alison is looking to publish in the autumn of this year. The novel follows a young girls journey from childhood into early adulthood encompassing all turns, many of which are ultimately tragic. The reading is to take place at 5:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday, the art form, a giant representation of a lobster to be present throughout both days.

The best on offer for this Bank Holiday weekend.

Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th of May, Cains Brewery, Liverpool.

Free Entry to Cains Brewery Village

Sound City

The Unusual Art Sourcing Company

Cains Brewery Village

 

Suspended: Bold Place

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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

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In the Red Dress I Wear to Your Funeral

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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

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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

 

 

Seeing Red

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Seeing Red is the name of the game for Arts Hub’s latest exhibition: The Fabric of Fine Art. Alison Little brings us her textiles works, red being the focus of her latest creations.

Red Flowers is a painstakingly detailed miniature framed embroidery. The scarlet floral forms are located beside the Liverpool Football Club Stadium from the Delilah walk entrance through Stanley Park. The prowess of the Premiership football clubs sporting success reflected in the vivid primary colour of the Botanics, contrasted by the freshness of the greens. A striking piece to brighten and add focus to any wall.

The Red Lady was simply still letting off the aroma of fresh paint when positioned in the first-floor gallery space. The three heads; green, blue and red, invaded the display cabinet bring some thought and contemplation to the array of artists mediums. Heads which will turn heads, textures which engage with our tactile qualities, colours which carry our imaginations to new places.

Finally, fresh from her singer sewing machine the wall based machine embroidery ‘In the Red Dress I wear to your funeral’ stole the focus of the show. A strong piece inspired by the poem written by one of America’s leading poets; Erin Belieu. The poem is a fast paces work highlighting the resentment felt towards a lover of an outer marriage affair. We are taken through a rampage of hate at the funeral, encountering images of his wife and family. In the textiles works, we see a devil woman crouched within a coffin, surrounded by coloured fabrics representing the flowers which are present at funerals. A mass of colour, fabrics and creativity brought together into one determined artistic upshot.

If you are anywhere in Liverpool this week make sure it’s Arts Hub on Lark Lane.

2-8th October

Arts Hub 47, Lark Lane, L17 8UW

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Arts Hub

 

Blooming Small!

Blooming small is the word for the latest works from Liverpool based textiles artist Alison Little.

These miniature embroideries have been painstakingly stitched to show Liverpool Parks at their finest of flowering glory. She utilises pioneering techniques using digital photography to print to fabric then hand embroiders the pieces using an expanse of stitches. Organic variation of fibre manipulation allows for the touch of hand to be visible in the edging process. The first depiction is from the ever-famed bluebells present in the woodland areas of Croxteth Hall Park. The second is a vision of the new found glory of Everton Parks annual transformation into an array of wildflower meadows.

The two embroideries will go on display at Arts Hub for Alison Little, the fabric of Fine Art to be held from the 2nd to the 8th of October. In addition to the miniature embroideries, the exhibition will encompass larger wall based freehand machine embroidery pieces looking at everything from themes around Liverpool icon buildings to an interpretation of the latest contemporary poetry. A range of techniques is explored around quilting, appliqué, the re-purposing of decoratively patterned fabrics and the use of dis-solvable medium to create contemporary lacing edges. The latest ranges of framed hand crochet Wedding Day ranges. An organic approach to crochet where the mathematics of pattering meets the artistry of shaping. Not forgetting a selection of Nations most loved dogs featured on luxury cards. New samples of the pet portrait service where photographs of your furry friends become needlepoint creations. Fibres used to form fur, colours were chosen to depict the canine form.

A tiny piece of Liverpool Botanic, framed and available to purchase from Arts Hub.

2-8th October

Arts Hub 47, Lark Lane, L17 8UW

Arts Hub