Is this art? Today I transferred my frottaging skills to HMP Holloway red brick prison wall and the result is a 3m lead rubbing on canvas.  (My last rubbing  was on paper of the Ships’ bollard at Chelsea). I am aiming for ‘naturalness’ in the artwork, with no ‘forcing of ideas’ making it more accessible to an the audience by not putting art into it. You can see it now installed in the studio and judge. (Another Ambitious project really would have me abseilling the full 30foot height of this boundary wall…watch this space).

Below frottage Feb 2018, Holloway Prison Boundary Wall (detail)lead on canvas

Below Frottage Feb 2018, Holloway Prison Boundary Wall(3000mm x 900mm) lead on canvas

HMP Holloway site-specific frontage piece was as ephemeral as in the time it took to realise. As fleeting as the transient conversation I had with an elderly down-at-heel gentleman (and his dog) who stopped for an inquisitive exchange about my rubbing on the wall, Here is the wall, here history, history leaves traces, traces of previous occupation, objects and markers, mapping of the area, working the boundary, reinforcing authority.

In my research on women prisoner’s at Holloway and locked up suffragettes, I discovered an ex St Martin’s UAL artist in connection with Jeremy Bentham and feminism. I am quite excited by the work of Cristina Clackson Bonnington, She is a critically-minded multidisciplinary artist whose work challenges the status quo. I am interested in her feminist works related to suffrage.

She currently has a three year touring show ‘House of  Doors’.

Cristina Clackson Bonnington ‘Leg’

Sisters Uncut are a political women’s direct action group fighting cuts to domestic violence services and have some involvement in women’s prisons whose work intersects with prisons (46% of women prisoners have suffered from domestic violence, for example). They stage demonstration on the walls and roofs of Holloway over the Women’s Centre. Their worthwhile campaigning with the local authority includes re-claiming the abandoned prison Family Centre at Holloway Prison, to re-develop the site into a Women’s Centre.


Annabel Ludovici Gray