Memento Mori

Memento Mori by Jelly J Artist

My piece for Brown Jewels exhibition at St James Hatcham Gallery, London. Curated by Baserbillion in sponsored by Shapes Lewisham in collaboration with the Mayor of London.

Acrylic and spray paint on canvas 100cm x 100cm

When one minority – race, collides with another – disability. “You need to study five times harder than your white friends (for equity)”, Jelly was told as a child, by parents who experienced racism in the UK. The pile of books on top of the artist pallete demonstrates the priority of education but also how art became a struggle with the onset of degenerative autoimmune illness, shown by the broken paintbrush. To parents who worked hard and were unfamiliar with UK welfare services, entering another minority: disability, meant inequality increased.

Illness also stole precious time, hence the hourglass and hospital gown. Survival was now priority. The gaslighting comments indicates ableism which stalks people clipping their wings. The harrowed expression in the darkness reflects isolation, pain and prognosis but also the feeling of being hounded. Watchful eyes in the background are the DWP whose oppressive PIP disability assessments have led many to their death. If you will; a ‘Memento Mori’ (remember you will die). However the stars above indicate the spirit, strength and survival they didn’t manage to take.

Memento Mori by Jelly J Artist
Memento Mori by Jelly J Artist
Memento Mori by Jelly J Artist
Memento Mori by Jelly J Artist

Check out the next post for the rundown on the exhibition!

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