Museum of Homelessness announces first artist commissions of new works for the collection
As part of the museum’s National Lottery Heritage Funded work in 2021 responding to the heritage of the pandemic, we have commissioned two sets of artists, gobscure & Lindsay Nicholson and Jacob V Joyce to make new works. This is the first time that Museum of Homelessness has commissioned new works for the collection. Both sets of artists are creating participatory artworks on broad themes of reframing, community healing, renewal and survival outside statutory services and systems of oppression.
Museum of Homelessness cofounder Matt said:
“We are honoured to commission gobscure, Lindsay Nicholson and Jacob V Joyce in 2021 to make new works with a range of people and groups. After more than a year of emergency work and fight or flight, it felt profoundly important to reflect on all that has happened and find ways of healing together. These artists are significant and we are very grateful to be working with them. The way that they are able to bring people together and make something precious feels especially important right now.”
The artists describe themselves and their response to the commissions in their own words below:
Jacob v Joyce
Jacob V Joyce’s work ranges from afro-futurist world building workshops to mural painting, comic books, performance art and punk music with their band Screaming Toenail. Best known for their illustrations, Joyce has self published a number of books and illustrated international human rights campaigns for Amnesty International, Global Justice Now and had their comics in national newspapers. Recent TFL Arts Grant awardee, artist in residence at Gasworks and the Tate Galleries Education department Joyce is a non-binary artist amplifying historical and nourishing new queer and decolonial narratives.
What is it?
The aim of this project is to build a spaceship, a huge mobile fabric mural which is activated through games, grounding rituals and the embodied gestures of systemically marginalised activists. These workshops are open to all but centre the voices of Black, Brown, Queer, Disabled, Working class people and people who have experienced any form of homelessness. Each session as invitation for participants to reclaim their narratives, reclaim their bodies and reclaim their space through art making and games. The mural element of the ship will be printed onto silk fabric and sewed together into a massive fabric spaceship similar to the play parachutes used in primary schools. Through building this ship we invite people to consider the ways we can resist alienation* together and create new ways of moving forward together: cruising beyond the isolating grip of oppressive state violence.
Why now and where has this idea come from? On the 6th of June 2021 the UK Government moved forward with legislation to criminalise and evict all GRT (Gypsy and Roma Traveler) Communities in the UK and effectively begin a nation wide cultural genocide. Although this project is not affiliated with any GRT activist groups it is born out of a solidarity with all communities resisting displacement especially by the UK government. The inspiration behind this project includes a long rich history of British people creatively resisting the enclosure of common lands, waterways, the privatisation of woodlands and the criminalisation of residential squatting. It also builds on the tapestry of anti-colonial activisms bought here by Black, Asian and Irish migrants with their own ideas about reclaiming land/bodies/narratives. We are building a living mural which reclaims and creates a space for community, for education, for disobedience, joy. We believe that the function of art is to show each other what freedom looks like. This project is a form of anti-colonial counter mapping, to chart a course back to our bodies, back to our shared liberation narratives, back to our power.
we perform – exhibit internationally – make award-winning sound-art (2 sound&music awards) as gobscure, we write as burn. we use plural as reflection on our broken mind. currently supported by Graeae’s beyond talent development scheme, Future’s Venture fund, MGC Futures bursary 2021 and spark arts for children. we continue to tour provoked to madness by the brutality of wealth supported by BOOST : the Third Angel Mentoring Scheme in association with Sheffield Theatres. this show is our reply on the ‘support worker’ who said ‘what dya need books for your homeless?’ https://gobscure.wixsite.com/provoked
is a North East based theatre maker, performer and facilitator. Lindsay is Co Artistic Director of Workie Ticket Theatre CIC which creates new plays, amplifying marginalised and often unheard voices. Through her work Lindsay explores conflict and often works with survivors. Her work has gained recognition from academics on how creative methods such as theatre can be used in benefit for people’s post traumatic growth. https://www.workietickettheatre.com
What is it?
made not mad : a manual
“when joan of arcs judges asked ‘in what language do your voices speak to you?’ she replied ‘better language than yours’. collaborators from a wide range of backgrounds have been commissioned to reflect on current mental distresses from street-level and ‘reframe the narrative.’ in art or writing of any kind. octavia butler said ‘the normals dont survive’ – were helping build an accessible e-zine from folx who know we’re made not mad” – gobscure
“This project is important as it is another creative mechanism on people’s journey of transcending life experiences and giving invitation to celebrate our collective healing and being the narrators of own stories.” – Lindsay Nicholson
why now and where has this idea come from?
Riot Medicine came out about the same time as the pandemonium. street triage on physical ill-health. it crystallised something around an approach to mental distresses for us – were all being driven over the edge, so being able to commission street-level responses that offer some alternative, might be necessary and timely acts of healing
gobscure and Lindsay will be collaborating with 10 other artists on the creation and production of the mad/e manual.
Both works are currently being created but watch this space for announcements about how you can access the works later in the year.
*Survivors of the world unite* with love and solidarity from MoH crew and our beautiful artist coworkers.