My overriding feeling of disappointment and upset about the state I found ‘Bread and Roses’ in days after the Referendum result stayed with me for a while. While intellectually, I was able to accept the dramatic change as an exciting part of the process, emotionally, it was a whole other ball game. Up until this point, I had been really enjoying watching and documenting the subtle, delicate changes to the decaying bread and roses as they unfolded. It was hard to stomach seeing it transformed so suddenly, to a black, treacle-like sludge.
I’ve now got things back into perspective. Since the deluge of rain managed to find its way in, ‘Bread and Roses’ has dried out considerably. Yesterday I photographed and documented the more dried out version. I no longer feel that it’s been irreparably damaged, my immediate response when I saw the assemblage in its saturated, sodden state.
If things happen for a reason, then the sudden, dramatic change served as a pertinent reminder of just how bad things had become. There was a marked increase in racist and xenophobic attacks in the weeks following the decision to leave the EU and, for those whose lives run parallel to what’s been happening to the bread and roses – ie. those citizens being neglected and not cared for – things have continued to get worse. It doesn’t make the news very often, but austerity measures continue to impact on the most marginalised and disadvantaged people in our society and the standard of living for many, including children, low-income families and people with disabilities, continues to spiral downwards. Sanctions imposed upon the lives of some UK citizens are considered to be so draconian that reports by the UN has warned that austerity policies are a breach of international human rights – that’s how bad things are for a section of the UK population.
If every picture tells a story, then these images speak volumes about the impact of an uncaring, neglectful society, from one year to the next.