Aug 21, 2012

Fashion's Dirty Secrets

Esther Freeman brings together an exhibition that is important and expressive. Be sure to fit it into your trail diary, it is no.6 in the guide. Esther tells us about the project and her ideas:

1. Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the 2012 E17 Art Trail?
I'm curating the first ever ethical fashion photography exhibition. Called Fashion's Dirty Secrets, the exhibition reveals the real lives behind our clothes and includes photos from campaigning groups Greenpeace, ActionAid, Anti-Slavery International and Traid. The aim is to inform, education and inspire people in to taking action to clean up fashion. We'll also be helping to raise funds for the organisation who have kindly donated their work at a fundraising event at the Rose & Crown on Friday 14th September.

2. Is this your first time in the Trail or are you an E17 Art Trail veteran?
This is my second year on the Art Trail. Last year I ran a pop up shop showcasing local designers who work in ethical fashion. This year I've moved more into the campaigning side, to use art to encourage people  to see that they can be more than just passive consumers of fashion. It's all about people power, which living in William Morris ward I think is quite fitting. As an environmentalist and socialist I like to think the big man would approve!

3. What are the challenges of getting everything ready for your Art Trail event?
I set myself the challenge of partnering with four different organisations who work across the globe. It's not been easy to coordinate, and as they all work with very vulnerable people there's been lengthy discussions about photography ethics. Fortunately there were some images we just had to drop from the exhibition because of the risks some of the subjects face, however we've still got some very powerful images and stories that I think will move people. And with images from China, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, we really will be bringing the world to E17.

4. Do you remember the first artist that really influenced you? Does that artist’s influence still have an impact on your work?
There's a very famous photo taken on one of the early Greenpeace actions in the 70s. It features a huge whaling ship targeted on whale. A lone Greenpeace activist has positioned himself in between the two. The image makes me feel both terrified and deeply moved. To me it says so much about the power of photography to inspire people in to action.

5. The E17 Art trail has become bigger every year. Do you think it is because more artists are calling it home?
I think Walthamstow has a big artistic community, but I think the key word here is community. I dread to think that we'd loose that and just become a home for artists. I think the Art Trail mainly gets bigger every year because the community inspires others to get involved.

6. What has E17 bestowed on you?
A sense of belonging.

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