Drawing age

Barker, Garry ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1686-3738 (2020) Drawing age. Drawing: Research, Theory and Practice, 5 (2). pp. 351-361. ISSN 2057-0384


The output is a journal article comprising of a reflection on the author’s current art practice. Research process: Barker has continued to explore the use of allegorical visual narratives to communicate and make meaningful experiences. The research consisted of a series of imaginative drawings made in response to his own aging body and the memories he has of his childhood. A second narrative developed from conversations with a neighbour was also constructed as a test to check whether or not a private narrative could be externalised. Research insights: The development of this work allowed Barker to test audience reaction to an allegorical narrative about aging in various formats, from an exhibition of large scale drawings, to a presentation to the group, ‘Life hacks for a limited future’, to a more theoretically sophisticated audience who read about drawing. The use of text to reflect upon drawnings, alongside spoken word presentations has allowed the allegorical potential of the work to reach a much wider audience than working in any one area. In particular more older people have been brought into dialogue with the work, because as a result of giving a presentation to the older people’s group, Barker was asked to develop a blog post for the Leeds Older People’s forum. The development of conversations about how it feels to inhabit an aging human body has revealed a direction for practice that has unexplored possibilities. The artist is now researching how votive practices can be integrated into his allegorical narratives and he has been given a commission to produce work exploring how to visualise the body for a variety of health and socially engaged community practices. Dissemination: The exhibition of the original drawings and associated ceramics was held in Chapeltown from 13 April - 1 December 2020. The blog post about the issues was hosted by ‘Life hacks for a limited future’ as part of the Leeds Older People’s Forum and Barker has spoken about this work at research seminars.

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