‘Something really dramatic has happened’

Spotlight on Asylum Festival

When I visited Karen Whiteread’s studio in Wood Green, London, mother and daughter team Karen and Amber were busily preparing for the Spotlight on Asylum Festival – writing press releases for events and photographing angels for the auction. Now the festival is up and running, with the first event coming up this Saturday, and the auction in full swing.

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Pram Depot is a charity that recycles baby clothes and equipment for women who have no recourse to public funds, and the festival is a way of raising awareness about the needs of these people, who are mostly asylum seekers. The studio is full to the brim of teddies, blankets, prams, and everything a new mother could want.

I talk to Karen about what inspired her to create this helpful art installation, and to Amber about why she came all the way back from Paris to help out.

For the auction, the team asked 150 artists – including some very big names – to respond in any way to the theme of ‘angels’ on an A5 board. They received pieces from Anthony Gormley, Tracey Emin, Mark Wallinger and Rachel Whiteread, as well as poems from Mark Waldron and…me.

Amber and Karen were in agreement that Mark’s poem summed up the theme of the project very well, but they agreed to disagree about what mine was all about. For my collage-poem I used words taken from newspaper articles, including one about Thurrock Services on the M6, to express myself.

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The auction closes 20th November 2018. Start the bidding!

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