Thursday 22 March 2018 saw the Private View of the 2018 Shape Open exhibition, this year titled “Collective Influence”, a group exhibition of artwork created by both disabled and non-disabled artists in response to provocations such as: what influences you? How does influence go further than inspiration? What power does influence have to provoke change, and what capacity does it have to affect society?

The winning artist was selected and announced at the Private View by Shape Open Patron Yinka Shonibare MBE as Helen Jones, with her installation of dolls created from mixed textiles and found objects, titled "Identi-Kit", pictured above with a detail below.

A beige fabric rough-hewn human doll wearing clothes. It has a fabric badge pinned to it with the words "The UN said the UK government has committed systemic violation of disabled people

As winner, Helen will receive a £1,000 award from Shape Arts.

"‘Identi-Kit’ is an exploration of self in the postmodern landscape, analysing group affiliations and relationships with physical and virtual landscapes. Participants described themselves in 10 words and I produced a sculpture; the sculptures are part of my social network. I record posts of participants on subjects such as disability, environment, politics, art, and poverty with a dot ... This is a variation on the art world’s red dot [under an artwork] in a gallery to represent a sale, whereas ‘Identi-Kit’s dots represent potential for collective influence, thus generating a visual mapping of collective influence and the spread ideas on social media."

On Thursday 5 April, at the 2018 Shape Open closing event, the winner of the £250 People's Choice Award, sponsored by Crucial Colour and as voted for by Open attendees, was announced as Alice Rose Floyd with her series of artists' books titled "'How to feel morality superior to me and know how to show it by Alice Floyd (Practicing Dyslexic)' RED PEN", pictured below.

Close-up view of a selection of small, white photocopied black and white zines bound with thread

"I made 25 artist's books describing how I've felt judged for my spelling. I sent them out, asking the recipients to make corrections using red pen. I then experimented with superimposing the corrections to create a kind of map of their combined impact.

Correcting someone’s work literally obscures their self-expression. The collective criticism of the red pen builds up, eventually silencing me. Layered onto each other, the marks become meaningless and this is one aspect of the way I experience my disability. By highlighting how being constantly corrected causes me to suffer, paradoxically I'm able to give myself a voice!"

The 2018 Shape Open "Collective Influence" took place at The Art Pavilion, Mile End, London from Thursday 22 March until Thursday 5 April 2018. For full information, click here.

All images by Rachel Cherry