Artbox: We Love…Grayson Perry!

Our Mother - pic from Deborah
Artbox: We Love…Grayson Perry!
Deborah is enjoying the work of the flamboyant artist, particularly his representation of African Women in 'Our Mother'

I love this postcard (photographed by Stephen White) which I’ve placed on my fridge door. It’s by the artist Grayson Perry whom I knew very little about, apart from the fact that he occasionally wears female apparel, makeup, wigs and is married to a woman called Philippa.

Since stumbling upon this statue and purchasing the postcard as a memento at the Serpentine Gallery pre-lockdown, I have developed a growing interest in him. 

This work is entitled Our Mother and is made from cast iron, oil paint, string and cloth. It is 84.5 x 65 x 65 cm - a sizeable piece of work. The Mother is clearly African and is carrying the weight of human needs on her shoulders including a thin child.

My interpretation upon seeing this for the first time was highly symbolic; it showed Grayson’s acknowledgement of Africa and Black women as the original Eve or Lucy, as a source of resilience, responsibility, and the sacrifices she makes for humankind. I remember that she was placed prominently in the centre of one of the rooms and I wondered why he chose an African woman to be his focus.

I have since avidly watched Grayson’s Art Club programme on Channel 4, where he invited people of all ages, ethnicities and abilities to create art forms using various media during lockdown.  Some were then selected for exhibition in Manchester. I didn’t particularly enjoy art at school, but he seemed to be making it less stuffy and a little more democratic, global and accessible. This only endeared him to me more. 

I am also dipping into his book “The Descent of Man” - an investigation and commentary about modern masculinity. Grayson Perry - respect!