Photojournalism, film and, increasingly, social media platforms are established mechanisms for recording protests, bearing witness to controversial events and challenging those in power. But what about drawing? What part could this gentler, slower medium play?
A new exhibition at the Drawing Room, a gallery in Bermondsey, south east London, considers the notion of the Graphic Witness – that “drawings can move beyond documentation of man’s inhumanity to man to become active agents in understanding how political ideals are corrupted, and reminders not to stand by, but to act”.
It features a mix of historical and contemporary work as well as new images made for the show. “Drawing is particularly suited to bearing witness as it is a legible medium. To look closely at a drawing is to trace the history of its making and in this sense each drawing acts as its own witness. Graphic Witness looks at the different ways that artists employ drawing to produce evidence of conflict and suffering, commentaries on injustice and as tools to prompt social change,” the gallery says.
Graphic Witness is at Drawing Room, Unit 8 Rich Estate, 46 Willow Walk, London SE1 5SF, from May 18 to July 9. It opens on May 17 with a curator’s tour from 6 to 6:30pm.