Ancel Daniel, Ian Patterson and I had a really great conversation last week. We discussed how groups of people hold on to negative stereotypical views and subconsciously re-enact them generation after generation perpetuating violence. We shared our experiences of discrimination, what drives people to do it, how it had damaged us and discussed how we can articulate this problem in our work.  I was working at the time on a sketch based on a religious painting I had seen earlier that day at The Wallace Collection of a transcendent Virgin Mary. Whilst our conversations were very contemporary I somehow arrived at the phrase ‘mimicking the devil’ to describe the wicked problem of changing ingrained negative cultural beliefs. The phrase held a rather gothic sentiment which I wanted to avoid. I did think getting drawn into cheesy, stereotypical representations of Lucifer and pseudo-violent images would be appropriate! I wished to remain in religious territory however, given that we were discussing peace and morality essentially. So, I decided sheep would be a good starting point. The Christian connotations, group behaviour are fairly obvious. What wasn’t obvious until I took a picture of a classical English pastoral scene of sheep in the shade of a tree standing neatly in a line, and made the drawing, was how relevant the ‘line’ to be crossed would become. It is a time where polarized ideas around race and culture are being used to gain political power and are smashing communities apart. I’m sure sheep are not going to adequately describe this in the long term but it’s at least a start. I made the first drawing which I have given to Ancel. Thanking her for our conversation. I hope it reminds her of a good day in the studio in equally hopeful peaceful years to come.

http://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/event/2019-re-imagining-brexit-britain

 

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Kate Mieczkowska