In 2019, we took to the streets and issued a public call to care. Autograph was working with artist Elsa James and young women from community arts organisation All Change Arts
to bring urgent messages of compassion to a world which felt increasingly polarised and divided.
The women picked through Autograph’s photography collection for source material and inspiration, and created placards calling attention to the issues they faced in their lives and communities - from racism and gender stereotypes to period poverty and religious discrimination.
The placards were then taken out of the gallery and into the public, asking people to take notice of the issues affecting those marginalised in society, and to consider how we care for each other.
The placards were incredible. One in particular stuck in our minds, with the text CALL TO CARE alongside reproductions of Joy Gregory’s 1990 Autoportrait
photographs. That phrase – a call to care
– has become a beacon for us during Covid-19.
Inspired by this campaign, Autograph is creating a new series of video interviews with some of the extraordinary people we’ve worked with, who dedicate their lives to community work with the most marginalised in society. We’ll soon start publishing these on our blog.
We want share how these grassroots groups, and the people they care for, are experiencing the Covid-19 crisis - finding new ways to build relationships, support each other, make community and create art.
At a time of social isolation and challenges to fundamental rights, it’s even more critical to issue a call to care
, and to keep this essential community work visible. There’s a lot for us all to learn.