The Teddy Bears' Picnic.
If you go down in the woods today...

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The ‘good’ bears sit at the picnic table, the ‘bad’ look on from a distance.

 

I asked friends (by email and facebook) to name 5 people or organisations who they felt have had a positive affect on the world and 5 negative and to give a brief reason why. It could be anyone and I asked for it to be heart felt. I took a photo of these people’s faces from the internet and sewed it on to a soft toy. (For organisations, I chose the CEO, founder or a person who could be held as responsible). The Paw People were born!

 

I then attached people’s personal comments (in blue) and a profile usually compiled from wikipedia. It is people’s personal opinions and so subjective and although I have edited it, I do not necessarily agree with all choices, I didn’t want it to be my opinion, some of them are quite controversial. I am aware that if I asked a different audience the placing of many could be reversed. I wanted to highlight their positive or negative aspects and so I have picked out information that I thought relevant.

 

It was very interesting researching these people and what soon became apparent was that no one is all good or all bad. That these selected individuals are representing wider societal issues. That using these terms judges and isolates people and isn’t constructive in any dialogue aimed at tackling the issues.

 

I don’t expect you to read all the paw people profiles, that would take some time, the weight of them alone gives testament to how much impact has been evidenced of what they have done.

I wanted to make a little bestiary of humanities impact on the world.

 

The aim of the installation is not to judge but to encourage engagement in a dialogue. I do believe that we are affecting our environment in such a way that humans will not be able to exist on this planet in the long term without fundamental changes in our attitude towards and use of it. Present governing systems need to change.

 

This is an ongoing project if you have some people or organisations you'd like to suggest with a brief reason why (as per instructions above) I will aim to include them in future shows, please contact me here with your ideas.

The installation is available for exhibiting. I am  keen to provide related workshops, discussions and take on commissions to explore issues within our society.

2016 © copyright Tom Barker