Monday, 2 July 2012

that's what I said

Claire Parker- The Big issue office and Booth centre in Manchester 

1st June 2012 Getting to know the people
I embraced the project with optimism, looking forward to meeting new people and hoping to find a way to make the voices of the people we meet visible. It struck me early on through conversations with Lois that it is this that is the essence of the project. 

Morning session @ The Big Issue Office 9-12
During the morning a man came into the Big Issue office in a despondent state- worn out, elbows on table, head in hands, his whole demeanor submissive and deflated, shattered. He sat at the table where we were working laying out pieces from the week before. I was suddenly felt maternal towards this guy who was probably the same age as me. Sitting quietly and working, he began to unravel a little, he began to bring into focus the work on the table before him. Lois showed him a piece of work that had been embroidered the week before, the embroidery held his words and he was delighted.. remembering 'thats what I said' (looking at it cheerfully almost in disbelief) 'I'm made up about that' (staring at it with a steady gaze) he was thankful that Lois had chosen Red as he is a MUFC supporter. I was struck by how the simple act of putting his words out there- making his story a piece of art, stitching it for all to see made such an impression, changing his whole mood, I guess he sensed that it was something of value.  He left shortly in a far more positive frame of mind. 

Jaoa painting a mug
On the same morning I made friends with Jaoa, he said 'they call me Mario but my name is Joe'. We spent some time chatting.. what fascinating lives and rich stories and experiences. Sleep, health and food were reoccurring themes during many chats I had with various visitors to our project during my 3 Friday sessions- mornings at The Big Issue Offices on Swan Street and afternoons in the Booth centre under the Cathedral. I was intrigued by Joe's hands and his collection of rings, but felt it was a conversation for another time. I painted a few mugs in the hope that the vendors who came in and out of the office might be interested enough to have a go. We collected words, thoughts and ideas and made some good relationships and contact.

Claire's drawing of Jaoa's hand

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