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Sunderland University student highlights cost-of-living crisis with striking artwork 'Food for Thought'

A student from the city’s university has been using her creative talents to highlight the cost-of-living crisis as well as providing a food collection point.

By Neil Fatkin
Monday, 13th June 2022, 4:55 am

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Laura Clark’s ‘Food for Thought’ installation features a pyramid of tinned food relabelled with various statistics, such as ‘1 in 10 parents skip meals to afford food for their children’ and ‘1 in 7 people were employed whilst they were using a foodbank’.

The 18-year-old Sunderland University student, from County Durham, hopes her project will inspire people to reflect on the seriousness of the cost-of-living crisis and be more empathetic to those who are struggling.

She said: “The labels displayed are there for people to take away and apply to their own tins, to remind them of the current situation and their possible privilege, and perhaps encourage action to support foodbanks.

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“I’m interested in the idea of the audience as an active participant, contributing to eradicating the issue, rather than a passive viewer.

“I want people to appreciate the precariousness of the situation and inspire empathy.”

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Laura’s work is currently on display at University’s final year Degree Shows based at the National Glass Centre, the Priestman Building and Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.

University of Sunderland student Laura Clark with her 'Food for Thought' artwork.

Visitors to the exhibitions have the opportunity to collect food tins which have been donated to help those in need with any leftover donated to the foodbank at Bethany City Church in Sunderland.

Laura, who was keen to use the power of art to highlight the issue of poverty, added: “Poverty is rarely addressed in art despite it affecting real people on such a large scale. As someone who thinks of art as having the potential to bringing about change, I think there’s a need for poverty to be addressed visually in the art-world.”

The exhibitions opened to the public from Saturday June 11 – and it’s the first time students have been able to display their work publicly following the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The thought-provoking piece of art from 18-year-old Laura Clark.

Professor Kevin Petrie, Head of the School of Art and Design, said: “Even though our online showcases were really successful, it’s great to be returning to live Degree Shows.

“Visitors are going see an amazing diversity of themes and ways of working but what unites all of our students is a passion to comment on, reflect and change our world.”