Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Annie Harrison/Jane Lawson

Annie Harrison has just completed a degree in Embroidery from MMU. In her previous life she was a human rights researcher and a counsellor, working in drug and alcohol and community health projects. She has run art workshops with refugee and asylum-seeker women and with young people. She is currently working as a freelance artist.

Jane Lawson is a former knitwear designer for many years and founder member of Manchester-based art collective UHC. More recently she has focused her creative practice on climate change and Palestine. Jane Lawson and Annie Harrison have been friends for ten years.

What do we leave behind?

In the past, only the rich and important left behind any trace of their existence; portraits and written records were mainly the preserve of the wealthy. Now, it seems as if we are all leaving behind vast tracts of information, digital images, blogs, websites…but some people are still being left out of history.

For many marginalised people, a photo of themselves can be a precious item, representing an acknowledgement of their existence and worth by the outside world. This project will enact an exchange of images between participants at Antifreeze and people who may have no access to images of themselves.
At Antifreeze, we will sell people Polaroid images of themselves taken on site. As part of the sale, we will take a digital photo of the purchaser with their portrait, and enter into a contract with the purchaser to take a second picture of someone who does not normally have access to images of themselves. Working alongside refugee and homelessness projects, we will then offer their clients free framed Polaroid images of themselves, in return for allowing us to take a digital image of them with their photograph.

The images of all the portrait subjects will be exhibited in a real or virtual gallery alongside information about the issues of refugees and homelessness and about the people in the photos. There will thus be an exchange of gazes and attention between the subjects of the onsite portraits and the subjects of the portraits taken afterwards.

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