Second year BA (Hons) Fine Art student, Clare Dickson, has used her work to fundraise for a local food bank.

Clare tells us more:

The project was in response to an email from a local solicitors in Bournemouth asking for an arts student to create a sculpture with donations from the solicitor staff, in the hope of encouraging more donations to the Trussell Trust.

At the time, I was working on a self-directed project exploring wealth inequality, so this seemed a great opportunity to engage my studies outside of university. However, the task was more challenging than I had first envisaged.

The final quantity of food collected was smaller than I had hoped for and it would not be possible to glue, paint or damage the packaging, as it would be eventually packed into family food parcels.

Also, I had not considered that the tins and boxes of food would be so precarious to stack into a sculpture, or that content and branding would become so significant.

The final outcome was an installation based on absence and how not having basic supplies might change a domestic space.

Incorporating the gift and wrapping element of giving, particularly relevant as we were nearing the festive period. I wrapped blank paper around each item donated, creating 295 impressions of either tin, box or bottle.

This process therefore created a sizeable record of absence, with the pile of paper impressions growing far larger than that of the donated food.

In order to exhibit and allow the work to be considered, I intended for my project space to suggest the four walls of a home and how they might feel cell-like and unwelcoming, without the comforts we expect to find there.

I was really pleased with the outcome, however, the solicitors firm required a less conceptual piece to show their staff and clients. The food was unpacked and rearranged into the shape of a large Christmas present, tied with a bow. It was then photographed for a ‘Guess The Weight’ add-on fundraiser and included in their monthly newsletter.

This experience of negotiating a visual project, for a non-artistic company, in an off-campus situation, has been a really valuable insight into the importance of clear communication, organisation and compromise. This was a fantastic opportunity to learn and stretch myself artistically.”

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