The research field is creative practice that makes social commentary remaking and re-categorising a familiar image.
'Save the Kidz Campaign' is a series of mono-prints on paper. The starting point of this creative practice was the documentary media coverage of the Michael Jackson trial for alleged child abuse which took place concurrently with coverage of the Iraq war. It highlights some of the problems of media coverage, particularly the public’s insatiable interest in celebrities which contrasts with the public’s right to know about major events such as wars.
‘Save the Kidz’ draws attention to the workings of the media but it neither endorses nor denounces Jackson. Research indicated that Jackson’s reputation had transformed from the King of Pop to a child abuser and possibly paedophile. Reworked images of Jackson as a boy (‘Ben’ 1972), over-printed with the ‘Save the Kidz’ slogan was intended to trigger a range of associations when seen in a public gallery, including the sense of Jackson’s own lost innocence. The piece was made so that it would have high visual impact across two rows of nine images, printed in black and white with the slogan in red. Points of visual reference include Warhol’s celebrity series and, in a different register, the posters of Lech Walensa’s Solidarność workers movement.
The work was exhibited in Très Riches Heures, comprising three group exhibitions (London, Brussels and Breda) curated by the researcher, 2006. The other exhibitors were Boris Beaucarnem, Ian Breakwell, Damien De Lepeleire, Lucy Harrison, Paul Hendrikse, Conor Kelly and Erhan Maheo.
The research took the fifteenth century book of hours Très Riches Heures, painted by the Limbourg brothers for Jean, Duc de Berry, as a point of departure. It depicts the life of Parisian aristocracy and the peasantry coexisting but leading very different existences. This both keyed the theme of ‘Save the Kidz’ and the rationale for the exhibition.