The Future is Loading

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View the Shape Open 2020: The Future is Loading exhibition, featuring the work of 25 marginalised artists! 

"2020 has been a paradigm shift for many, a year like no other. A time of raw hardship and sudden turmoil in the midst of which we have witnessed gestures of care and support capable of reminding us: we need each other. 

For many disabled and marginalised people, familiar with adversity, witnessing the world come to a halt in a matter of days has paradoxically generated hope. Hope that, for once, the world might take greater heed of what it means to be shut away, impoverished and excluded. 

For people who are marginalised in the present day, facing discrimination and barriers to access, imagining the future can be an act of radical defiance.

As the crisis has evolved and its shockwaves travelled, we find it acting as a catalyst for many other significant conversations, in the home, the workplace, or whilst, in the case of the Black Lives Matter movement, taking to the streets in an assertion of grief and outrage. In this time of reflection and learning, a plurality of realisations has occurred. With this, widespread unrest and demands for change have arisen.

More than our lives, entire structures have been thrown into the air by what we are living though, revealing the outlines of a starkly unequal world. In the process, a pandemic of health has radicalised mainstream debate, and we are no longer shying away from discussing the pre-existing pandemics of racism, of gender discrimination, barriers to inclusion and advancement, of gaping inequality, isolation, and disenfranchisement. The list goes on.

Set against this uncertain and restless backdrop, where risk of greater exclusion battles with unique opportunities for change, we at Shape are looking to the future as an act of hope.

For people who are marginalised in the present day, facing discrimination and barriers to access, imagining the future can be an act of radical defiance. It is the act of making a claim to a space that is otherwise denied ­– and for once, marginalised people have the agency to place themselves at its centre."

The Shape Open is our annual exhibition of artwork by disabled and non-disabled artists created in response to a disability-centred theme. The Open provides a space where disabled and non-disabled artists can discuss and exchange views and ideas about issues and topics which are often sidelined within artistic debate.

The Future is Loading / Shape Open 2020

Curated and creatively produced by Shape Arts 

Arts Council England logo.

Latest Shape collaboration: The Kirkwood Brothers were a selected for the Adam Reynolds Award Shortlist in 2022, where they exhibited as part of the shortlist exhibition, The Many Costs of Living. Jonny and Jordon contributed to the Shape Open 2020: The Future is Loading and designed the exhibition's branding.

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Artist Statement: The Kirkwood Brothers, Jonny and Jordon, are Glasgow-based artists whose work often revolves around neurodiversity and mental health in an effort to dispel related stereotypes. Working collaboratively as brothers, Jonny and Jordon create art through conversation, re-capturing the popular culture from their childhood. Humour is a central vehicle to their practice, affording both brothers agency over their own experiences.

Much of the content of Jonny and Jordon’s work is still taboo among communities in Glasgow: disability, mental health, suicide. Though their work might at first appear naive, it performs as a vehicle for conversations about these topics unravel.

Jonny and Jordon prefer to let their work speak for itself, avoiding the pitfalls artists often face when trying to explain their work in written language. They believe this often makes their work feel more relatable and accessible and affords the audience an intimate and individual relationship with their art.

Watch Jonny and Jordon discuss the artworks they contributed to The Future is Loading exhibition...

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Banner image: 'Everything is wrong' (2020) by the Kirkwood Brothers. Image courtesy of the artist.