Sunday, 16 September 2012

Occuprint portfolio

Although I've had this in my possession for a while now, I felt the need to express my gratitude for having my work included in such a great project. And not to mention, explain what a privilege it is to be the owner of such a beautiful artifact. 

For a decent spell, I gave a lot of my time and effort to the Occupy movement in London. As someone who has been involved in (and burned out on) activism for so many years, it was genuinely invigorating. There were sublime moments, like working on opening the Bank of Ideas, the social space set up through the "public repossession" of investment bank UBS. There was also finding out that the guy emptying out the chemical toilets at St. Paul's was doing it for free because he supported what we were doing. 

But there were many disappointments that made me pull away, quite a while before any real threat of eviction. Like the troubling discussions about rape and sexual assault, exemplified by the unquestioning support of Julian Assange. Or the removal of this beautiful Ed Hall banner proclaiming that "Capitalism Isn't Working" over concerns that its anti-capitalist message might prove alienating to some passers-by (unlike, say, a massive encampment on a public park in the middle of a city). 

When I encountered Occuprint I saw it as a space that cut through a lot of the bullshit I had experienced and was happy to contribute. I'm so pleased I did and now have my work featured alongside the other artists in this portfolio, many of whom also have a long history of involvement in political activism and see the connections between different issues and oppressions. 

When I first started thinking about a design, I purposely didn't want to use the word "Occupy" or the phrase "99%" because I found them both problematic for different reasons. I thought maybe there was a more basic and immediate idea I could represent. Many of the strongest supporters of Occupy I spoke to at the info tent were local religious leaders. I thought, why not just point out how the West's own religious heritage, the basis for all of its laws and mores, should be enough to make people actively challenge greed and inequality?

I am eternally grateful to Christeen at Out of Line Press in Brooklyn for the beautiful screen printing of my poster.

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