Amy Richardson

My practice capitalises upon the intricacy of textile embroidery and the intensity of the dedicated labour associated with sewing in order to infer the greater value of misjudged individuals within society and the socio-political issues that they represent. Textiles themselves have immense historical, political and social significance as an industry frequently exploited by the elites but also as a trade established by the work of working class factory workers. Therefore fabrics become a material with a social conscience, witness to historic events and with a capacity to be both ordinary and exceptional. I am particularly inspired by the proactive nature of trade union and social protest banners as they come alive from the walls, refusing to be beautiful testaments to troublesome times in history and instead stand to change it.

This year my work is specifically concerned by homelessness as both an issue of great personal significance as well as being a wider, increasingly prevalent and visible problem. My Uncle Mark is the main subject of this work as I aim to tell a story of a unique character but not a unique situation. This work consists of a series of nine images which follow a time line of events influenced  by the presence of factors such as a harmful childhood, mental health, societal judgements and governmental neglect. The presentation of a life being played out in front of the viewer is inspired by Hogarth’s ‘A rake’s progress’. The use of personal details merged with newspaper headlines grounds the story telling in fact.  It also emphasises the universality of these issues and reveals the severe and growing social disparity in this country and instead highlights the consequence of an insensitive system that does not provide provisions for the most vulnerable within society.

Consequently, I aim to present homelessness as a complex social issue in order to devalue simplistic, ignorant assumptions that serve to regress society's conscience. However, most importantly I wish for my works to simply serve to reassert humanity into an issue that is becoming more and more removed from it.