Artist’s Statement

‘I like poems that come from inside, and so more honesty, more truth, more vulnerability.’

Adoabi Tricia Nwaubani, Nigerian writer and journalist

Employing a diaristic and meditative approach, I work with textiles and direct processes, which include painting, sewing and assemblage, to produce tactile, handmade constructions.

My work addresses personal experience through abstraction, in particular mental health, recovery from domestic abuse and motherhood. I am interested in the ways it is possible to reassert one’s individual sense of self through creative expression during and following times of personal illness, stress or crisis.

I use creative writing in my practice to document what I am thinking about or experiencing at the time of making a piece. I also employ writing as a tool to reflect on the ways my personal experiences influence and shape my practice.

Working with clients of the charity Migrant Help, who are survivors of modern-day slavery and human trafficking, I have recently completed a participatory Arts Council England funded project in Dover in Kent, which led to the creation of a new artwork, Lilacs In Bloom (2019). All of the coloured fabrics employed in the artwork were sourced on my local beach in southeast Kent. Since 2016, I have been collecting and employing in my practice scraps of cloth that wash up on the shore. When I work with these found fabrics of everyday life, I am thinking about returning to them their material agency. Restoring individual agency is a central part of the journey of recovery for survivors of human trafficking and modern day slavery. The anonymous scraps of cloth I found on the tideline provided fertile ground for exploring the restoration of individual agency as both the subject of the artwork and the objective of the project.

Joy C Martindale (2019)

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