The People’s Prize

This past April’s MADE 2016 Textiles exhibition at Morley Gallery showcased the wealth of creative design talent and techniques our textiles students have acquired over the last year. Focusing on the theme of the River Thames students created a variety of works from clothing to tapestry, printed cloth and stitched works of art. 

From this collection Jackie Hall’s piece, entitled Destiny, was selected as the People’s Prize for the best work on display. 

Jackie Hall with Destiny

Read her artist’s statement on her influences and inspiration.

On a recent visit to the V&A Museum of Childhood, I was drawn to two objects, a trunk full of dolls and Noah’s Ark. These objects share a common thread, of children, and refuge provided by the Ark, a place of safety and protection from the floodwaters.

Coinciding with my visit was an exhibition ‘On Their Own – Britain’s Child Migration’, highlighting schemes that supported children sent to Commonwealth countries, often unaccompanied, to a supposedly better life.

The experience brought to my mind the current situation of migrants and refugees fleeing war torn countries, images of perilous sea journeys, of overcrowded boats, increasing the risk of capsizing, with often no life jackets, and with more and more women and children risking crossing the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, in search of safety and a new life.

My work is a response to the fragile plight of these very vulnerable people, tragically often ending in so many deaths by drowning, as so poignantly portrayed in the photograph of four year old Aylan Kurdi, washed up on a Turkish beach.

I have constructed my boat using wet felting techniques, fashioning wool fibres around a structure which I fabricated from polystyrene; the fibres were then shrunk against this to construct the hull of the boat, with felt strips attached as side planks of the boat; brass buttons were used for rivets and sisal rope passed through cable grommets to trim the edge of the boat. The fourteen figures and baggage were hand sewn using a variety of materials and embroidered with different stitches.

Destiny by Jackie Hall

The boat sits on a sea of nuno felt, made from dyed silk fabric and a layer of fine merino wool fibres, felted together, to achieve a textured look, evoking the uncertain dark, rough and foaming seas.

As I worked on my piece, I became very emotionally attached to it, yet with overwhelming feelings of helplessness.

Marian Lynch and Jackie Hall

From the MADE 2016 Textiles exhibition at Morley Gallery Jackie Hall’s piece, entitled Destiny, was selected as the People’s Prize for the best work on display.

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