I was fascinated by the television series on Channel Four called ‘Who Are You?’ in which artist Grayson Perry explored the idea of identity. I was keen to see the art works he created after meeting groups, individuals and partners around Britain. These are on display throughout the National Portrait Gallery so, when I was in London, I went to see them.
Grayson Perry is an amazing artist but his gift seems to be making a connection with other people. In the three documentaries I saw, his treatment of the subjects was respectful and considerate in a way that brought out key insights into identity.
Included in the programmes were a same sex couple with their mixed race son, a couple affected by the Alzheimer’s of the husband, a young white woman who converted to Islam, a group from Northern Ireland and a group in the Jesus Army. I was most affected by the story of Alex man who was transitioning from a girl to the young man he knew himself to be. In this case, the art work was a bronze sculpture called ‘I am a Man’ based on the Peter Pan story, since Peter Pan was so important to Alex when young.
It is this connection between the stories of the people involved and the pieces Grayson Perry created that was fascinating. He created a hijab for the young woman who converted to Islam and the pot made for and about the couple affected by Alzheimer’s has their family photos cut up so that only fragments are left.
Grayson Perry is an artist with a sense of humanity and this comes across in his work. It is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?