Fighting For Crumbs (Art in the Shadow of Neoliberal Britain) is a group of artists from Yorkshire working amidst the after-effects of Austerity Britain 2.0.
The project was inspired by the film ‘Invisible Britain’ (based on the work of Sleaford Mods) that looks at overlooked UK towns and cities, and motivated by a request to contribute to the 50th anniversary celebrations of ‘The RedShed’ (Wakefield Labour Club). The event is based in Sheffield and Wakefield and explores the position of art, and artists, in a period when we are all being pressured to ‘strive’ for crumbs – a time when wages are low, and the market dictates creativity
Monday 8 August: Opening night. 6:30 – 9pm
Friday 12 August. Music and poetry night. 6:30 – 9 pm
Saturday 13 August. 1Pm onwards. Film-viewing, and talk by JD Taylor
Normal gallery opening times: 8 August – 13 August, 7-11pm (call 01924215626 to check room is not in use).
6 days left to help support Fighting For Crumbs (Art in The Shadow of Neoliberal Britain)! Once the crowdfunder is complete, we will begin to promote the event, that will be held in both Sheffield and Wakefield, including an exhibition our the artists’ works, the showing of our video documentary, talks, films and much more. Ta.
So this year has begun with me working with a group of artists on anexciting project which, at least in my life, promises to be something quite special.
Fighting For Crumbs (Art in Shadow of Neoliberal Britain)will be taking place at the Wakefield Redshed, and the Sheffield-based Gage gallery between 8-14 August 2016. A event centering around a film and an exhibition, it will also include talks and performances at both venues.
We need all the support you have to make this project be as special as it promises to be!
Please find the Crowdfunder located below.
Here’s a little about what Fighting For Crumbs is all about…
In November of 2015, the group the Sleaford Mods starred in an independent film examining the lives and homes of the majority that were being systemically ignored in this brutally austere but paradoxically aspirational age of David Cameron. ‘Invisible Britain’ was screened nationally, yet it seemed to focus much of its energy on towns once at the centre of the Yorkshire mining heartlands.
2016 marks the 50th birthday of The Redshed, also known as The Labour club. Situated in the heart of the Yorkshire city of Wakefield, the place is somewhat unique, and has defiantly resisted the capitalist forces that have penetrated nearly everything else around it. A year-long line-up of events are now marking this anniversary.
Sandra Hutchinson, a lifelong supporter of the club, spoke of how The Redshed began at the height of the social and political changes happening in the 1960’s. In-spite of the seismic troubles around the world, it was an age of political optimism, and there was a strong belief that things could be and would be changed.
“THERE IS A PREVAILING SENSE OF PARALYSIS AND DEFEAT ALL ACROSS EX-INDUSTRIAL BRITAIN. AND THIS PARTICULARLY EFFECTS THE YOUNG WHO HAVE NOT KNOWN ANYTHING ELSE” JD TAYLOR
The Invisible Britain documentary addresses this political climate; an age of deep political pessimism. A sense of defeat clings to the streets of our congealed conurbations. A depressed, and broken spirit hangs over us, instructing us to abandon the world we live in and find happiness in loneliness.
The huge support that propelled Jeremy Corbyn from relative obscurity to leader of the Labour Party, seemed to be more a WILLING for a return of a political optimism. Wanting it, because it’s not here.
Fighting for Crumbs (Art in the Shadow of Neoliberal Britain) is the stories of artists who are striving for nothing but raw artistic expression at a time when we’re all being forced to strive for ‘crumbs, where wages are low, and the market dictates creativity.
It’s not so much stories of poverty-stricken artists. It’s about artists working within the crumbling remains of the Britain’s post-settlement optimism.
Under the “keep calm and carry on” mantra of Tory rule, more and more artists are feeling pressured to head into more craft-based activities.
Although this is not a critique of the crafts itself, how can an art SAY when it’s trying so hard to SELL?
What value does the truth of artistic expression have in such times? Have we been reduced to fighting for crumbs?
Here are photographs of my exhibition ‘Under Digital Rain’, curated by John Wright. Held at the Bowery Gallery, Headingley, Leeds, it runs until 29th July.
Gallery opening times
Monday – Saturday 10:00 – 18:00
Sunday 10:00 – 17:00
54 Otley Road
The World-Wide Oneupmanship (2016, 8X4ft, mixed media on paper)
Title of work below: £$[We]€$[Can’t]$£[Take]£€[Any]$€[More!!]$£ (2016)
Titles of works in image below (from left to right): Gimme Shelter [Closure No1] (2015); The Self[ie] Under Siege (2015); “Sad, LONELY, Frightened” (2015); Drainage System (2016); Tired of Life/I Want to Leave Myself [Closure No2] (2016); NoteToSelf2016; The Capacity to Care (Closure No5) (2016); A Cognitive Austerity (2015); A Deep Paralysis (2016); Hunger Games Darwinism (2016); Bound up in Binary (2016); “Can We Stop now, Please?”; I am Becoming Nothing (Closure No3) (2015).
The World-Wide Oneupmanship (2016, 8X4ft, mixed media on paper)
My part of the exhibition will feature a number of new works, including a large mural installation called The World Wide OneUpmanship.
Under Digital Rain is part of an ongoing project (dialogue?) between myself and John Wright called The Retro Bar at the End of Universe, and on the opening night this coming Friday we will be performing our piece Non-Stop Inertia: A Stuck Record, inspired by an Ivor Southwood book of the same name.
A few of the Fighting For Crumbs artists were involved in projects with Driftmine last year. In fact, the reflections on those projects were very influential towards the plans to do this project.
Driftmine helped us transcribe our audio recording a few of us had in a bar in Barnsley, in which we put together the reasons for this show. The link to the transcription is below:
Here is a selection of my works on display at the Redshed (the Wakefield Labour Club). Although these works are being taken down today, they were displayed as a ‘taster’ for a larger, quite exciting event, that I am involved in staging later in the year. So please stay tuned in as there will be posts about it coming soon…
2016 is the 50th anniversary of the Redshed, and a years’ worth of events are currently ongoing to mark this, and to celebrate how it has remained a politically tuned in, politically active place right through to the present. The social mood, the political climate, was fundamentally different to the mood now, in 2016.
I was asked by friends closely involved with the club to put on a show of my work. I didn’t simply want to put a few pictures up, I wanted to stage an event that looked at the reasons my work is like it is by looking at today’s political climate, the climate my generation, and younger, have grown up within. And in doing this I have asked others’, whom I believe tell a somewhat similar story, to be involved.
More news coming soon about this event…!
Although Dewsbury has always been a nearby town, the exhibition I was part of allowed me to discover parts to it I hadn’t seen before, as I climbed up the hill from the train station up to Crow Nest Park. I got a view that stretched back over to Woolley Edge, reminding me of the strangeness in how the industrial towns of West/South Yorks fold into different valleys from where transport connections and communication are almost non-existent in relation to their general proximity.
The exhibition is called Soul Searching and is…
An exhibition of mental health related artwork, on display in the 2nd floor galleries at Dewsbury Museum throughout the first quarter of the year.
The exhibition has been curated by Mark Milnes, of Creative Arts Hub. From a large number of submissions received via curatorspace and by email, we have selected a wide range of approaches to the subject. Work has come in from across the country; and we also have artwork from Canada (Emei Ma, nascentscienceart.org), and from Austria (Klaus Pinter).
The work is broad in scope, some of it exploring the dark recesses of the mind; others focusing on the transformative power of art, used as a means to overcome mental health problems. Featuring work from individual practitioners, and from organisations – including Women Centre Kirklees and Calderdale, Hoot Creative Arts & Glenside Hospital Museum (Bristol), the exhibition offers a serious exploration of a challenging subject which visitors will find to be raw and thought -provoking, and equally positive and energising.
I have 4 works (The Planet’s Mental Illness, Disintegration, Not Humanly Possible, and The Index For Child Wellbeing) in ‘Soul Searching’, an exhibition exploring mental health through art and poetry.
I’ve never shied away from explaining that mental health has had a continual place in the compositions I make; never shied away from telling people about my own history with mental health issues; never shied away from saying it as I see it: that the unrelenting injuries of life under a 21st century capitalism, that sustains itself through disbelief and cynicism, work overtime against our wish for a good happy, meaningful life. Which doesn’t make it impossible – but fucking hard, that’s all.