The Crisis Commission at London’s Somerset House is one of the world’s biggest returning art fixtures – this year’s participants include Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Yinka Shonibare, Jonathan Yeo, Gillian Wearing and Bob and Roberta Smith. The event, which runs until April 22nd, will donate its proceeds to UK-based homeless charity, Crisis. Wonderland sat down with Wearing to discuss her involvement, and took some exclusive shots of the exhibition.
What interested you about The Crisis Commission project? Have you always been conscientious about homelessness?
Crisis wanted to work closely with artists in trying to not only create an artwork to raise money for their charity, but also to convey a message within that work. They were not prescriptive about this and allowed us to work with any medium. I thought the cause was very important, particularly even more so now as the economy shrinks and so many people could potentially find themselves in a vulnerable position of losing their homes. What I also value about Crisis is that they work with single homeless people, who are normally at the bottom of the rung when it comes to social housing.
How and when did you first learn about Craig, the subject your work focuses on?
Craig came through Crisis, I was interested in creating a sculpture based on someone that had left the forces. I was aware that for a lot of soldiers coming back from war, it’s difficult to adjust back to civilian life and that there is very little support for them. Craig, with the help of Veteran’s Aid, was able to rebuild his life and now works as a volunteer tutor at Crisis. He states on the plaque that is below the sculpture of him – “it’s important to give more than you take”. I see this artwork as a monument to hope and that Crisis can give hope to people’s lives.
What participants’ work are you stimulated the most by?
What I found really interesting was all the differences in approach from the other artists. I found the show really poignant.
What future projects are you developing?
I have a solo show opening next week at the Whitechapel and I am creating a monument to the “Real Birmingham Family”. The sculpture will be unveiled next year and I am in the process of looking for the family with the Ikon gallery.
Words: Jack Mills