Commissioned by The Open Eye Gallery / 4 Streets CLT
"After the second night of fire and rage, police burst through the door of the Simon family home in a little terrace along Beaconsfield Street in Liverpool, snatched 13-year-old Michael and flung him on to a pile of other young bodies packed into the back of a van. "I thought I was going to be killed," recalls Michael. "There were 10 in the van and I was on top – only a small, thin lad, taking most of the beatings. They beat me until I could hardly feel it any more and I thought that was it for me." Ed Vulliamy
It's a simple word that means everything. To the extent that some will live for it whilst others will die for it.
Home; that place which shapes and defines us. Which gives us comfort and makes us whole, to the degree that without it, we can feel that we are nothing - homeless. Home is warmth, it is comfort and safety; home is a person.
It's nearly one hundred years since Lloyd George's 1919 "Homes fit for heroes" campaign brought social housing to the forefront of British politics. One hundred years that has seen housing become a political 'football' like no other subject other than migration. But the two issues, of course, are irretrievably interlinked.
It is difficult, to not consider this when we reflect upon the horrors of Grenfell Towers, or preface this disaster within any work which now deals with social housing from this point forwards.
As the horrors from that night point to the ways in which at times social housing has been used to 'cleanse' or 'engineer' communities or to 'cut corners' by a succession of governments, on the quality of of housing its provided its people.
In this light, Grenfell Towers has become the legacy of that 1919 campaign. Yet, if we are to find any positives from this disaster it is that the people's voices are now being heard. My work in Granby, Home is a Person, was, within the limitations of time, an initial attempt to work collaboratively with the community to indeed help make their voices heard through the use of both still and moving 'portraiture'.
I would like to thank Michelle Walker, who I collaborated with on this residency, for her insights and knowledge of the community which helped shape the boundaries of the work but also for her help to solicit the participation of community members.