For WAIWAV Grace Currie performs Put Away Neatly, part of her current artwork, Almost Happy, exploring the impact of the ‘gilded cage’ of the loving yet undermining care sometimes experienced by people with disabilities. In this performance Grace asks an actor to shout out those repeated words and phrases that can be uttered by the people who have our best interests at heart, but which have the accumulative impact of keeping us safe, tidy, and silent and ultimately disempowered. As each phrase is said aloud, two carers in hygienic nylon tabards gently wrap Grace in layers of cardboard packing material until she is an immobilised bundle which is carefully lowered to the floor and rolled away tidily. The phrase ‘That’s not appropriate!’ is left ringing in the audience’s ears.
Grace is an emerging artist based in Shropshire in the West Midlands. Originally from Manchester, where she still regularly visits family, this is why she chose HOME to perform this piece.
In 2010, aged 17, Grace’s life hung by a thread after a serious road traffic accident
resulted in severe brain injury, leaving her with inter-relating disabilities and a neurodivergent view of the world. Her work often uses these challenges to challenge viewers, to reflect her resistance to a reductive label ‘disabled’ or the disorientating sense of fractured self 24/7 care engenders. If she is going to be labelled at all, she says, let it be ‘Sexy Artist’!
Grace is inspired by artists who express inner feelings through portraiture (her recent starting point was Bacon’s ‘Screaming Pope’ series). Tschabalala Self’s work contributed to her understanding the powerful tension that childlike form in painting can create when themes are adult, sometimes sexualised.
In 2020 Grace graduated from Chester University School of Art with a First-Class Honours degree in Fine art. Her powerful and huge figurative paintings in her Final Show, The Identity Series, invited you into her world to meet its strange inhabitants - more or less human - clearly on the way to the same anarchic party… Her current work, Almost Happy, springs from a commission to make work about the UK Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty processes for a forthcoming academic publication.
Grace is building an impressive body of work, mainly painting and video, submitting nationally and internationally. Since graduating, Grace has already exhibited in the West Midlands and London. Put Away Neatly is her first major live performance piece, prefigured by some of her earlier videos.
Her website is gracecurrie.art/ and Instagram @GraceCurrieArt