What kind of a year has 2017 been for you?
Rulers who neither see nor feel nor know

But leechlike to their fainting country cling

Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow.

A people starved and stabbed in th’ untilled field

Percy Bysshe Shelley, from England in 1819

What has changed for the better and what, if anything, has changed for the worse?
I am all at once

freed by love

but I am imprisoned

none the less

Angela Davis, from Conflict

What do you wish hadn’t happened this year?
You think

your pain

and your heartbreak

are unprecedented in the history of the world,

but then you read.

James Baldwin, LIFE magazine, 1963

What do you wish had happened this year, but didn’t?
Remain remain propose repose chose

Gertrude Stein, from Stanzas in Meditation: StanzaLXXXIII

What would you characterise as your major achievement this year and why?
child, they just played your song. now is your chance to move on.

Danez Smith, a quote from Twerking as a Radical Form of Healing

Is there anything you’d like to have done this year but haven’t?
Wild nights – Wild nights!

Were I with thee

Wild nights should be

Our luxury!

Emily Dickinson, from Wild nights – Wild nights

What would make 2018 a better year than 2017?
There is a button on the remote control called FAV. You can program your favourite channels. Don’t like the world you live in, choose one closer to the world you live in.

Claudia Rankine, from Don’t Let Me Be Lonely 


1. Oreet Ashery. Photo: Christa Holka; Courtesy: the artist
2. Oreet Ashery, ‘Revisiting Genesis’, solo exhibition, Stanley Picker Gallery, 2016. Image copyright of the artist; courtesy of the artist

For more in the ‘2017 – How was it for you?’ series, including Lubaina Himid, Larry Achiampong and Common Guild director Katrina Brown, use the #hwify2017 tag 

More on a-n.co.uk:

Oreet Ashery. Photo: Christa Holka

2017 Jarman Award goes to Oreet Ashery, artist whose work is “impossible to pigeonhole”


Adrián Villar Rojas, The Theater of Disappearance, 2017. Photo: © Panos Kokkinias; Courtesy: NEON

Best exhibitions of 2017: a-n writers pick their top shows of the year

Layla Curtis, The Thames from London Bridge Arizona to Salt Island British Virgin Islands

A Q&A with… Layla Curtis, artist and explorer of places