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

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Artist Statement: Sam Jevon began creating work at Submit to Love Studios in 2009. A mum of two and based in London, she began attending three years after sustaining a brain injury in a car accident, which affected her speech, dexterity, eyesight, and balance.

A self-taught artist, Sam is well known for her detailed line drawings and unique illustration style. Buildings, people, and animals become curiously crooked and contorted under her guidance. The self-described ‘Queen of Wonky,’ Sam will tell you how she could only draw matchstick people before her brain injury. Her work now is intensely detailed, with an inimitable style that makes it instantly recognisable.

About 'In Charge' (2020) which Sam contributed to The Future is Loading...

'In Charge' is Sam's first embroidery work, inspired by the 1996 photograph 'Effnik' by Yinka Shonibare CBE from the Autograph archive, originally commissioned by Autograph. Yinka is the Shape Open Patron, so we are proud to be continuing a conversation initiated by him over twenty years ago; a conversation about colonialism, racism, and inequality. In inserting into the visual canon a disruptive and subversive iconography, Yinka aimed to critique and satirise the photograph's context. 

The work was created in a project-based collaboration between Submit to Love Studios and Autograph gallery, 'Common Threads'. Artists from Submit to Love Studios were invited to recreate in textiles photographs from Autograph's archive. Shape works closely with both Autograph and Headway East London, who run Submit to Love Studios, so Sam's work really symbolises more than her own practice. It threads together (pun intended) the work of these impressive and important organisations, with whom we are proud to work!

Watch Sam discuss the work she contributed to The Future is Loading exhibition...

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

Banner image: 'In Charge' (2020) by Sam Jevon - based on Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA)'s 'Effnik' (1997). Image courtesy of the artist.