About the Artist Jenny Hawkinson was born in Seattle. She grew up in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains to a family of avid story-tellers. Her aesthetic is influenced by her Scandinavian roots and a childhood spent collecting things. Growing up with a strong sense of identity steered her in the direction of art making that connects to place. She works with a range of media, including video, textiles, sculpture and installation. During her travels, she has made work collaboratively and individually in a remote community off Vancouver Island, Belfast in Northern Ireland and Israel/Palestine. She lives in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, B.C. Hawkinson is active in community development work and a socially engaged art practice. Her artwork explores borderlands and contested territories. Through research and a versatile studio practice, she seeks to reduce overwhelming socio-political situations to the human scale. Her artistic interventions use the interplay between politics and poetics to disrupt common assumptions.
Artist Statement I am here too. Found hastily scrawled in a bus shelter. A simple phrase that captures the human experience. You can learn a lot about a place if you pay attention to details. Words written on walls make a simple message system for the sans-phone subculture. When I walk around I find rude comments and demands for justice. I also find tender encouragements, declarations of love and messages that plead for validation. The linens are embroidered with words found on “the street.” The needlework reflects the street culture dichotomy of tough looking tattoos and tender sentiment. Customary with graffiti, words on walls don’t last long. Sitting with the text for hours while I methodically stitch it is like getting to know a new friend. I speak out the words, imagining what prompted the statement and who might have written it. The tent drawings are my field notes. They record the hours I spent sitting with people near their tents. Sometimes we talk, and other times I am an entertainer as I put pencil to paper. If the drawing is unfinished, its because the relationship took priority. This show is a brief glimpse into an empathetic and overlooked community. The pairing of the drawings with the embroidered text creates a narrative with apocalyptic urgency, reflecting the many challenges facing Vancouver’s most transient citizens.