Lucy Wright | Folk artist in residence
Before becoming a Bank Street Arts resident, folk artist Lucy Wright’s ‘Ballot Urns’ project was included in LEAVE//REMAIN, our 2016 members’ exhibition. Lucy followed this with Bling!, an exhibition that explored folk art in the age of digital reproduction and the increasingly personal relationships formed with everyday technologies. Lucy now joins us as our first Folk artist in residence.
With tongue in cheek I define myself as a contemporary folk artist. ‘Folk’ is a slippery and divisive term, which has accreted some complex and difficult associations, however for me it doesn’t represent a specific vernacular or style, nor set of rustic artefacts once gathered by Victorian collectors and promptly preserved in aspic. Instead, it’s what can happen when people come together, regardless of anything, to share in cultural practices they create for themselves. My practice aims to draw out this kind of folk via contemporary re-workings of ‘traditional’ performances and skills, and in the creation of hybrid forms, showcasing the new folk arts of the 21st century.
Identifying primarily as a dialogical or ‘socially engaged’ artist, I use performance and making to create contexts and scenarios for developing representation and play. I work closely with communities, often spending long periods of time collaborating with a particular group or individual, for example, the last three years were spent working predominantly with members of the girls’ carnival troupe dancing community in the Northwest of England.
‘Building on my background as a folk musician (touring with the BBC Folk Award nominated act, Pilgrims’ Way), my work challenges narrow portrayals of the traditional arts—typically associated with historical depth, rurality and masculinity— through emphasis on the dynamic cultural contributions of working class communities, particularly women.