The Bands Of Pride

I’m very excited that the Migrations Museum opened their show – No Turning Back.

The artwork comprises of 6 separate panels, made on individual French sewing patterns. Photography and shades of blue coloured paper are used to create the artworks.

The Context: My art practice explores the Human condition by revitalising found sewing patterns to create delicate paper collages. The Bands of Pride, a multi panel collage is a response to the Expulsion of Jewish people from England (1290). I was shocked to discover that in 1274 Edward 1 forced Jewish people to wear two pieces of yellow felt. This dehumanising racist decree was designed for them to become targets of discrimination. Other policies; of not being able to own property, not being able to recover debt owed to them, not being able to trade etc., finally led to the Expulsion. Clearly a minority was being scapegoated for the countries financial problems. I started to think about this Decree in contemporary times. Could it happen? Only 70 years ago European Jewish people under German Nazi rule were forced to wear the Star of David, which led to a more violent consequence.  It made me think about how this dehumanising policy would affect my Jewish friends. I approached all of them to supply me with photos of themselves and their families, which became an integral part of the commission. I also spoke to them about the choice of colour, and concluded that it cannot be yellow as the work could be seen as a celebration of the Decree rather than my subjects.  I came across the Blue City: Chefchaouen in Moroccan, where notably Jewish settlers painted all the houses in shades of blue. I decided the artwork would be made in shades of blue to celebrate Jewish culture and contributions.  The 1274 Decree could have been aimed at any peoples or race, and as a minority, being a Zoroastrian Indian Gay immigrant, it could easily be me forced to wear a badge of shame, instead of celebrating my contributions to British culture.