Artist Jessica Harby spent all of last year filling herself with as much information as she could about the machinations of the United States and the United Kingdom, the two places she can’t help but think of as home. She’s currently undertaking a residency at Bank Street Arts that will explore notions of national belonging and identity, simultaneously looking at how the decisions of 2016 become the consequences of 2017. The plan is to, as Jessica notes, ‘Slow things down. Feel every terrifying moment in real time’.
This will entail, among other things, Jessica physically attaching herself to the news of 2017 via a needle and thread, making a tapestry that will chronicle the year’s events and the unwinding consequences of political decisions made in 2016. Over the course of the year, Jessica will travel to Bank Street Arts to exhibit and work on the growing piece, inviting others to participate in the process. Jessica’s residency will also include asking visitors to Bank Street Arts to take part in a referendum on whether or not she should become a British citizen.
Progress on Jessica’s tapestry:
Jessica was born in Oak Lawn, Il, USA and studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her practice encompasses drawing, installation, film and sound and mixes the delicate, the brutal the absurd and the serious. Often using humour to address uncomfortable ideas, she has recently explored the importance of cows in the history of art galleries, the overblown masculinity of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s face, and why Donald Trump exists. Jessica is co-creator of the zine Tappa Tappa Tappa and is one of six artists chosen by Contemporary Visual Arts Network East Midlands for their two-year project Document. She has lived and worked in Northampton, UK for the last eight years and her Referendum (Ask Me How Do I Feel) was part of LEAVE//REMAIN, our 2016 members’ exhibition.