I had a long and interesting meeting this week with Ann and Carl to discuss the project and to try and find a way forward. I am continually amazed and humbled by the amount that these two give – they never say no to an opportunity to talk about the work they do and they seem very keen to provide support to this work. I have a loose notion about how the two countries interweave their selves with gifts and kindness and asked if they could provide any Thai’ property they have brought back to the UK and I also talked and asked about the ‘knitters’. The ‘knitters’ are two groups of women who have volunteered to knit for the children in Thailand, principally baby clothes and toys. I also wanted to work with other artefacts that come from Thailand and try and bring them together with the UK objects to develop the narrative. What I didn’t expect was the level and depth of the material that Ann and Carl provided. I have started to bring these objects and words together to try and develop my response to the brief in assignment 2.
Maybe being a parent/grandparent has made this piece of work more emotional, probably, but so far this part of the work has, and is, quite moving. I am very concerned that this piece doesn’t become mawkish or trivialise the plight of these children in Thailand.
This work to date is the start. I have been looking at merging these objects, knowing that I will be supplied with some more material shortly. I have also been asked to accompany the Gross’ to a reception in London on Tuesday evening, which will celebrate some of the work the charities that they work with have achieved, with some Thai workers who are in the UK for the event. I expect this will inform me as well.
The Thai’ script is in Jieb’s hand, a direct personal connection to the image. The type written script is a direct copy from the sponsor documents that provide information on those who are in need of sponsorship. A polio sufferer and orphaned after her father left her mother before Jieb was born and the mother abandoned her to find work in Bangkok.
This taxi toy was made in one of the orphanages and sold to tourists, a piece of trivia which collides with the details of KoKo.
The text, handwritten by Faay who is a girl sponsored by the Gross’. The note, for which I have a translation was written after the Gross’ visited (most sponsors tend not to travel to Thailand to see the children (and adults) they sponsor). The cardigan is one of a batch that the ‘knitters’ have donated. I have asked for some additional clothing to be made to help create a more complete set of clothing.
Only certain orphanages work with HIV infected children. These handicrafts are sold to visitors and tourists, though it has to be said that the children are kept away from the tourists. I wanted to bring a child to the visitor, the strong declaration by this child, that these trite objects are created by, to help keep them fed and supplied with the medicines and provisions that will provide them a life expectancy unavailable to them without donations.
The strongest text – taken directly from the details of the orphan – merged with the one of the softest images. The badger is one of a set of woollen knitted toys that are made and sent to Thailand. The toys used to be made for UK hospitals but are now not wanted due to H & S issues apparently.
More hand-made toys from Thailand merged with actual texts and translations.
This matinee jacket sits on a bar of soap. The soap is made by ex-prostitutes who are trying to break free by learning a trade.
No attempt has been made to provide the translation, wondering whether the absence of a recognisable script helps or subverts the intent of the image. I have the translation.
This will be updated a few times before submission. Any thoughts would be gratefully appreciated.