Photo by Roxy Leaver
Hoxton Gallery plays host to this year’s graduates of MA Communication and Design: Illustration at Kingston, who have been exploring and challenging the place, purpose and direction of contemporary illustration. Warning: This review of ‘Make Sense’ looks at the War on Terror, aging, Brixton Village, and celebrity culture.
Somewhere in-between running OOMK and DIY Cultures, co-founder and editor Sofia Niazi, also managed to graduate from MA Communication and Design: Illustration at Kingston and submit her work on time for the graduate show [say mashallah].
Inspired by accounts in Victoria Brittain’s book, Shadow Lives: The Forgotten Women of the War on Terror, and the possibilities of story-telling through the internet, she created Women of WOT, a website that explored through GIFS the daily routines of some of the women who have lived in limbo for years as a result of systematised injustice brought about the ‘war on terror’.
A spring-board website Videos of WOT hosts illustrations of stills from videos which contain first hand accounts of people whose family members have been affected with each illustration hyperlinked to pre-existing videos of family members, victims or campaigners providing accounts of some of the cases. Farida Ahsan and Marium Begg are just a few of the women featured and the website aims to expand through open submission, whereby people can submit video links to be illustrated, and the library of stories can grow.
She isn’t allowed to edit this part out, so I can go ahead and say that the subject matter is often difficult, necessary, harrowing, close to home and rarely is it handled with this level of respect, attention to detail, and fineness.
It was also lovely to see Amy Lambert’s work, who some of you might have seen in OOMK: Issue 2. Her brilliantly witty response to Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress explores consumer culture and the demands made on women to possess the perfect appearance.
OOMK designer, Rose Nordin, fell immediately in love with Reiko Chen’s experimentation with risograph and her illustrations depicting the vitality of old age were inspired by the active lifestyles of London and Taiwan’s senior citizens.
There was unanimous office agreement that the minuscule set designs of Brixton Villageby Jin Li, broke the awesome scales [now awaiting repairs]. They are beautifully detailed, right down to steam escaping mugs of coffee.
And I’ll leave you with Karma Hamady, who has produced ‘See You in Beirut Whatever Happens’, 3 lovely screen-printed posters styled after the vintage Lebanese travel posters of the 40’s and 50’s with modernised Arabic typography.
It is almost compulsory to conclude with mention of the recession and the failing job market when talking about graduates, but I won’t - the graduating MA illustrators are ingenious and inventive and I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing some of their next projects.
Make Sense is open from Sep 4-8 2014, 11am- 7pm at the Hoxton Gallery.
By Heiba Lamara