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: Rudy contributed to the Shape Open 2020: The Future is Loading.

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Artist Statement: Rudy Loewe is a visual artist and arts educator whose work focuses on themes of gender, sexuality, black histories, and colonialism. Using firsthand experiences, interviews, and archival material, their work uplifts voices that are rarely given a platform. Rudy is concerned with questions such as: who are the authors of history? Whose narratives are seen as objective? How do we preserve our own legacies?

Rudy works with painting, drawing, printmaking, and self-publishing, often utilising formats that provide greater accessibility to make their work easily disseminated. Their approach to text in their work references Jamaican sign painting, protest placards, and banners. This can be seen in We Been Here, which uses bright colours and hand drawn lettering to speak to the Afro-Carribean diaspora and the histories of Black resistance in the UK.

Having organised in activist and community spaces over the last decade, Rudy is motivated by the potential for art as an activist tool. They see their artistic practice as a way of engaging people in critical themes, raising awareness of issues and creating community space.

About 'We Been Here' (2019) which Rudy contributed to The Future is Loading...

Image credit: Jessica Wittman 

This large scale painting points to moments of resistance in recent black history in the UK. 

It highlights the black women who have been at the forefront of anti-racist protests, dating back to the Caribbean women who came as nurses during the Windrush generation. 

Black women who protested after the murder of Kelsey Cochrane; who marched after the New Cross fire; and who continue to fight against racist borders and deportations. The women continue out of the frame as they continue to fight.

Check out Rudy's website   See all the artists we work with

Banner image: 'We Been Here' (2019) by Rudy Loewe. Image courtesy of the artist.