In a series of sculptures, billboards and public workshops, Jeremy Hutchison’s cloth monsters stalked our streets, bringing back the clothes that we have discarded as a shocking reminder of our over-consumption of fashion.
Dead White Man highlights the massive global trade in used garments, given to charity shops in the UK in such volume that as much as 75% goes on to be transported in giant bales to East and West Africa, notably Kenya and Ghana, where they are sold in vast markets for recycling in various forms. A large proportion is unusable and ends up on enormous toxic mountains that contaminate the environment and communities while the over-abundance of the recycled garments undermines the local textile industry, resulting in what the artist calls a ‘zombie imperialism’.
To hear more about this work, listen to Jeremy’s conversation with Nest Collective’s Sunny Dolat and Amber Butchart in Episode 1 of the Cloth Cultures podcast, Season 3.
To accompany his installation at the British Textile Biennial, a series of workshops took place in schools and community centres across Lancashire. Bales of secondhand clothes were shredded, allowing participants to transform secondhand clothes into a horde of miniature zombies. These invoke the ancient use of effigies in healing rituals. Come and see this army of over 600 mini monsters made by Jeremy Hutchison in collaboration with 364 workshop participants on 29 Northgate, Blackburn.
The artist would like to thank The Hollins (Accrington), Marsden Heights Community College (Nelson), Altham St James Church of England Primary School (Padiham), Blessed Trinity RC College (Burnley), the National Festival of Making, Burnley Canal Festival and all the participants who dedicated their time to this project.
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