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Blazing New Worlds – WORK FOR WHAT? WORK FOR WHOM? by Joel Chima

Daily 12pm - 5pm

As part of Blazing New Worlds, we’re launching ‘WORK FOR WHAT? WORK FOR WHOM?’ by Joel Chima, reflecting on his time working in a covid test centre, and the systems of care created between him and his co-workers.

Over the period of about 4 months, at the height of the pandemic, Joel worked at a G4S covid testing site in Manchester. While there, he ran a collaborative art project within the site responding to the needs of the folks working there, embodying the politics of workers’ struggle, getting the story of the site out to the wider world – all while also making the site a more funny, odd and interesting place to work. He formed a site choir, ran a political campaign, created a herb garden, amongst other things.

For Blazing New Worlds Joel will exhibit his work and artefacts from the site and a new site specific work, Solidarity Garden. The Garden will be a shared responsibility with you, the viewer.

“My provocation is this – we should fill the world with art, and we should do so particularly when it would be most inappropriate to do so. We should make art in hostile conditions. We should make art in our workplaces, in our schools, on public transport, when we’re getting fired, when we’re turning down a promotion, when we’re unionising and when we’re pissing in bottles in Amazon warehouses. We should do so without permission from our superiors. It should be done collaboratively where possible and accompany more traditional forms of workers struggle – striking, union meetings etc. It should be made out of joy. It should demand a more compassionate world”

About the artist

Joel Chima (b.1991), Newcastle, United Kingdom. Lives and works in Manchester, United Kingdom. His work straddles documentary, journalism and socially engaged art practices. His recent work is concerned with the systemic inequities that underpin the pandemic. Selected exhibitions include: Work For What? Work For Whom?, Etihad Covid Testing Site, Manchester (2021), EBC24, East Bristol Contemporary, Bristol (2020), VISION5 – EN5 Gallery, Barnet, London (2020).

Watch Joel Chima in conversation

In this episode of Art Theoriez I went to the New Bridge Project in Newcastle to interview artist Joel Chima about his latest project: “Work for What? Work for Whom?”

About Blazing New Worlds

Blazing New Worlds is a programme of commissions, events and workshops at The NewBridge Project which celebrates its 11th Birthday. Throughout the programme we will be releasing a series of open calls and funding opportunities, commissions by the artists Graeme Hopper (Grassi Art) and Cassie Thornton, and a residency with Slack’s Radio and 13 mini commissions during the exhibition.