I am an artist printmaker currently living in Edinburgh where I am a member of Edinburgh Printmakers.
When I was 21 my first proper job was as a primary school teacher in Brixton, at this time I lived in Waterloo. I later moved to Bradford to work in teacher education and then Edinburgh to work in special education.
At the start of the coronavirus crisis in the UK I very quickly became aware that BAME people in the NHS had unfeasibly high fatality rates. I subsequently discovered this was true for other frontline workers, e.g. bus drivers, care assistants and taxi drivers. Due to coronavirus Edinburgh Printmakers is closed, so I made the plates at home and printed them on my dining room table with a small die-cutting press.
Details:- Each facemask is a handprinted collagraph/drypoint print. 30cmx11cm. To obtain these prints I made an acrylic drypoint plate of each person – this is a sad process as I am absolutely aware that these are not statistics, these were people and will be sorely grieved by their families and friends. I inked the plate with black ink and burnished it clean. At the same time I rolled blue ink onto a facemask, I placed the face drypoint plate on top of the facemask plate and put dampened paper on them both and put it through the press.
I contacted a good friend Elaine Thomas who spoke with the Canon Giles Goddard of St Johns Church Waterloo London and Euchar Gravina the organiser of Waterloo Festival. They were happy to install "Discarded" in the newly opened Lady Chapel St Johns Church 73 Waterloo Rd London SE1 8TY. The images were installed on the 17th of June and are expected to stay there for at least another 2 weeks. I have printed a second set if anybody else would like to install Discarded in an appropriate setting.
See link to website https://www.waterloofestival.com/post/discarded-an-installation-in-remembrance-of-bame-frontline-workers
Nurses, doctors, carers, drivers, shop workers, ambulance drivers . . . essential workers.
Discarded, dead as the result of lack of PPE, lack of care.
Disproportionally immigrants, blacks, Asians . . . discarded.
This installation consists of 50 prints of facemasks with images of named BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) individuals who have contracted coronavirus working in frontline services such as the NHS, care homes, shops and buses and who have died as a result. These are combined with a further 10 facemasks with ‘I can’t breathe’ printed across them.
The prints are simply scattered on the floor as if they had been discarded. They can even be walked upon, mirroring the treatment given to these people whilst they were alive and the continuing treatment of BAME people.
All these images were taken from the public domain – most of them from articles in the Guardian written by Sarah Marsh.