Blog post by Jorine Beck
As a University of Leeds alumni I am pleased to be able to share some thoughts on the relationship between academics, global inequality, art and the general public with you. Under the name ‘PrettyPolitical’ I make political art and studying at the University of Leeds inspired me a lot to build my ideas further.
In Leeds I studied the MA course ‘Theatre and Global Development’ at the School of English and POLIS. Before attending the Masters, I had worked in the arts and mental health care. Having always had an interest in global politics and discourses around inequality and human rights, I was eager to apply my knowledge about processes of change in the arts in a more political manner. I now organise and manage arts projects around peace and social justice, and create political art.
In the ‘Esscher Series’ I re-created the famous ongoing structures by Dutch artist M.C. Esscher in the context of inter-religious violence, military intervention, global dependence on oil and bankers during the financial crisis (on permanent display in the POLIS building). The symbolism in well-known fairytales formed the basis for the series ‘Political Fairytales’, in which The Wolf and the Three Pigs, The Golden Goose and Hansel and Gretel exposed controversies in the contemporary society.
What I love about Esscher’s work is that he creates all sort of dynamic structures, which challenge perceptions of movement and identity. In his work ‘Day and Night’ (1938), plots of rural land turn into black and white birds that fly in different directions. In my piece ‘The Blame Game‘ pictured above, I use this idea to explore ongoing violence and hate on the global scale: one (seemingly) insulated event, represented by the drop of blood, can lead to different groups blaming each other, and escalating violence. I think my piece still resonates with the original atmosphere Esscher’s work breaths, depicting division so closely before the start of WW2.