The State of a Nation
In class, we were provided with a new assignment which left us all pretty stumped. Having been given the title already (The state of a nation) we had been preparing for hours of researching Theresa May and her plans for Brexit, Donald Trump and his continual breaking down of equal rights for people especillay within the LGBTQ+ community- we were preparing for a battle of emotional breakdowns, as we believed we were about to embark upon a project which would leave us somewhat stunned at just how bad things really have got within the world.
However, when the assignment at last came around, it became evident our client and tutors wanted something completely different- and none of us knew what to do. As we sat poised with ideas about politics and social injustice, the client in question stood up and said 'I don't want this to be a bad project- I don't want you to focus on the word state and see it for all its nastiness- I want you to find the good within all this rubbish- and I want you to represent that in your artwork.' Silence enveloped the room- good?? she wanted us to find good news? nowadays that's like finding a needle in a haystack.
After she left, we scoured the internet desperately for some sign of hope in a bewildering sea of poisonous articles and blogs that only highlighted further what an absolute mess we were in. In short there was no good news to be found- it simply didn't exist. Disheartened, the class gave up and we convened back together in the centre of the room and began to discuss what we had found- and the answer was conclusive. We had found nothing that made us feel our nation and world in general wasn't in a terrible state of repair. When our tutors asked us to say what we had found good we had no answers- we mumbled replies of the same ethos- there was nothing happy left.
Our tutors then stood silent like us. It appeared the game was up and this project was going to be a lot harder than we had all originally anticipated- how could we display positivity when we didn't feel positive ourselves? As minutes ticked by, a voice rose up and said
"It's pretty shit then really that none of you can find anything that makes you feel like things may be okay- but within that surely there is a sense of community amongst you all that its wrong things have to be this way? isn't it a positive you came together, and founded the same discovery?"
For a moment we stood contemplating what the voice had said, and then another piped up and replied
"Even though our generations often considered the worst of the worst I actually feel kind of proud of us because of that sense of community- we know things are shit outside and all of us don't always feel like we can do anything about it. But on social media, or in our selfies and photos of friends, family or even the food we're eating, I feel like we are being positive because we're celebrating just basic facts of life- going out, laughing with mates, eating nice food, being happy with the way we look in that photo- its considered self centred and narcissistic but I think its people within this generation accepting this world is a mess, and seeking goodness within things closer to home"
With that, we at last had an idea for what we could do for this seemingly impossible project. We would create a series of artworks that represented this community spirit- all of us settled on making a portrait of ourselves- and they would all be on the same size paper, and displayed in the same way- we were all equal, so everyone got equal chances. We could do whatever art we wanted of course- it didn't have to be just a sketch of our face- a self portrait (we agreed) could be anything you felt made you happy or represented something about yourself you were proud or happy of. It could be a friggen toilet for all we cared, because its that acceptance we wanted to display.
Our world is messed up. There's no denying it. But my generation (although as fucked up as everything else) is something I am proud of because we display traits of goodness everyday. And that to be has become 'The State of a generation.'