image by Jessie Edwards-Thomas
Jessie Edwards-Thomas has co-designed and co-produced Grey Areas, a photographic dialogue with five individuals with complex needs who have past or present experience of being homeless in Bristol. The work has been made in collaboration between Alana Richards, Jackie, Jessie, Lex, Louise Johnson and Freddie Moore.
The work was created during the winter of 2020/21, the year of the pandemic; when our basic needs for shelter and safety were highlighted across the nation. Our concerns were rooted in the
question ‘what does Home mean to our sense of Wellbeing?’
What is continuing to happen to our city spaces which is pushing people further and further away, physically, mentally and socially?
Grey Areas reflects the impact our physical spaces have upon our mental spaces. Here you see a collection of thoughts, feelings, experiences expressed through image and text. The fictitious
scenes, costumes and ambiguous figures give an insight into the actuality of how it feels to exist and be perceived in the homeless pathway for these individuals.
This work does not provide answers, but asks you, the viewer, to question the broken perceptions we may hold.
This original body of work has been produced during Blueprint: Housing & Wellbeing, an artistic commission by Arnolfini and Bristol Photo Festival in collaboration with Golden Key and
supported by ArtFund.
Jessie Edwards-Thomas is a Welsh artist, whose artistic practice explores ideas of community and belonging.
She has an MA in Photography from the University of the Arts London, London College of Communication (2018), and she is currently teaching at the University of the West of England and the University of Gloucestershire.
Jessie uses the relationship between the photographer and the sitter to investigate the individual’s need for belonging within the construct of society. Her practice utilises the what-ifs of fiction and imagination to explore themes of power, symbols, societal structures and connection through storytelling.
Jessie wants to use this opportunity to delve into a vast part of her life and ongoing practice. By developing a photographic project that will be led and created for people who have experience within the homeless pathway, ‘to explore key questions and their priorities through themes of home and wellbeing. How do we see people in the homeless community within Bristol and therefore, how do “we” respond to “them”? How do those in the pathway see themselves? How do those within the pathway relate to ideas of home, on a domestic level and potentially on a wider city scale?’
Grey Areas Online:
For those of you who are unable to make it into Arnolfini for the exhibition, we are sharing a sense of the work with you here.
Grey Areas: Exhibition Slideshow
Look at the works in this exhibition through the slideshow:
All images by Lisa Whiting Photography for Arnolfini 2021.