The Precious Series : Forman at Forman’s 2016
Precious: the metal recovered from spent computers.
Precious: the atmosphere surrounding men’s Fashion week in London.
Both threads of this series were inspired from photos. Those of Kevin McElvaney’s from Agbogbloshie and various photo collections from Men’s Fashion week. I have neither been to Ghana or Men’s Fashion week; so the series is an imaginary mixing of the two worlds.
The photos from Agbogbloshie, Accra, Ghana are mainly the local youth standing on computers, sent from Europe. They will dismantle to reclaim the small amounts of precious metals for resale. Dangerous, laborious polluted work. Yet they are defiant statues on their pedestals.
Compare this to the languid excess of Men’s Fashion week in London; the starting point for many of the computers picked over for survival.
I take the rich fashion of the past colonialists to the poor wetlands of Accra Ghana. How do the fashion models change in the context of Agbogbloshie? How would they be received there? Some figures appear heroic, others not. The device of getting the young people to stand on the computers to be photographed gave them an heroic status, similar to European statues throughout history. Who are the important ones? There is a sense of debt in this work but it is not exactly clear who is paying for this debt.
The drawings were done in conjunction with the paintings, rarely as studies or sketches. They should be seen in conjunction not as preparatory work or some form of progression.
Who and what is precious now?