I was initially commissioned to make a piece of artwork that commemorates Doreen Lawrence over a month ago after she recently became the new chancellor at De Montfort University, where I study Fine Art. I am ashamed to say that prior to being asked to do the commission I knew little of Doreen or about the events where her son Stephen was taken away from her in a racially motivated attack in 1993.
I was left to use whatever medium I wanted and to express myself how ever I felt but this was like no other piece of art I've done before, this project required the up most respect and only a sensitive approach would do. I set off researching into the Baronesses achievements and the death of her son, which lead me finding out about the battle she endured against the justice system and a police force that at the time was found to be institutionally racist.
After a period of creating this artwork with the use of photography, paint and smoke grenades it was time to present the work to Doreen personally, along with the following statement describing the artwork:
''This piece of art visually depicts the phoenix, a mythological bird known for its regeneration and ascension prior to dying after a traumatic event of combustion, ascending away from a deep darkness it once endured and into a brighter tone.
The exotic creature rises above a dismantled set of scales, a symbol of justice that had once failed, and more specifically, a visual representation of the collapsed double jeopardy rule which meant that no persons could be charged for the same crime twice. The dismissal of this rule is what helped Doreen Lawrence attain justice for her son, Stephen Lawrence. A young, promising man who was taken away from her during a racially motivated attack in 1993.
Heraldic symbolism is the study of armorial bearings, Doreen endured a battle that no person should ever go through, one that surely caused great pain and suffering, represented here by thistle, which is the heraldic symbol for not only pain, but also protection and pride. thus the flower is situated at the centre.
After all that she has been through, Doreen still manages to advance, help and inspire others. This sort of strength is not one to be overlooked, it is one to be admired, which is why this piece of art serves as a sober celebration for the Baroness and all that she has achieved.''