Marcia Watson

“Marcia Watson – Validation”

Windrush. Fading away with memories that will be lost. It’s a history we should record. This is a blog of how my pieces are building.

The series so far:

1) Rachel  – Most Racist Was In White Church  2) Marcia – Validation  3)  The Background’s Too Strong, it Needs to be Whiter 4) Jeff Brown – You Try To Do Your Best  5) George Saunders

Marcia Watson, Validation. Quilt 100cms x 118cms

Marcia’s experiences on moving to the UK from Jamaica when she was 8 years old. This is the second quilt in the Windrush series

In this quilt I’m deliving into the poignant narrative of Marcia Watson, trying to encapsulate her struggles, resilience, and her quest for validation within her quilt. As the second installment of five pieces being produced for the Leamington exhibition in 2025, this quilt serves as another testament to the enduring spirit of those who embarked on the journey to the UK, seeking new beginnings while confronting the harsh realities of racism and discrimination.

Arriving in the UK at the very young age of 8, her life from the start became a battleground against the pervasive forces of prejudice. Marcia’s narrative emerges vividly, her voice resonating through the words that adorn the background—a narrative of personal reflections and shared experiences drawn from the Warwickshire Windrush video which records histories of local families.

The centerpiece of the quilt is Marcia’s portrait,  rendered with painted and stitched acrylics. Her gaze reflects a lifetime of resilience, and to me, a gentle tolerance. Her hands poised in a gesture that speaks volumes of her journey and of patience. As your eye wanders, you’ll see a subtle yet profound detail—the same as all the Windrush quilts I’m making, a gradual fading of Marcia’s clothing which is a deliberate choice.  The symbolism is there to evoke the passage of time, the erosion of memories, and the gradual assimilation of culture; a poignant reminder of the complexities inherent in the immigrant experience.

Embedded within the fabric of the quilt are Marcia’s own words, captured from conversations with local Windrush families whose narratives are rich with emotion and authenticity. Here’s a small extract:

“….working with colleagues who turn round and they say there’s no racism in this institution. There is no racism round you. One situation in one school where I was in a meeting, a staff meeting, and they were talking about a black lad in the school and somebody said there is no racism in this school, we work really hard to make sure there’s no racism in this school. And I sat forward and said of course there’s racism, there’s racism kids versus kids, kids versus staff, and staff versus staff. And the next morning I was hauled into the heads office and told I was not to say thing like that out in public. And then she floored me by saying she was an Everton supporter and she absolutely loved black Everton footballers, and she floored me when she said I watch Everton and there’s lots of supporters out there, and also, I drink black coffee”.

It’s important to me that the creative process extends beyond the confines of the studio and involves people’s experiences and stories. I was so lucky to be able to engage with the Leamington Windrush community, forging small connections and gathering inspiration from real-life encounters. I hope these interactions infuse the quilt with a profound sense of authenticity and empathy, honouring the voices of those whose stories deserve to be heard.

I hope in my quilts, to bridge the gap between past and present, memory and reality, creating a space where the narratives of the Windrush generations can be preserved and celebrated. So, in Marcia Watson’s portrait, we find not only a tribute to her individual journey but also a reflection of the collective resilience and strength that define the Windrush legacy.

21st September 2023 

20th September 2023 

Validation

Beginning to work on hair. Hope to finish it tomorrow. Next stage is Marcia’s words. 

The paint on the clothes etc is supposed to show the patterning on the cloth. The meaning behind the coffee cup and jumper will become apparent in a few days. 

 19th September 2023

Validation

A late summer burst of sun has put a stop to progress temporarily as I do battle with the garden weeds and overgrown stuff. I’ve managed to stitch Marcia’s clothes, and will work on it more from now on as it’s gone back to normal rain and tupperware skies.

6th September 2023 

Marcia’s hands. 

4th September 2023 

Blocking in hands. 

2nd September 2023 

2nd round of paint. 

31st August 2023

I’ve begun to paint Marcia’s face. This is the first layer of paint. I’m loving doing such beautiful skin tones.

 

24th August 2023

Validation

Ive started the 2nd quilt in this Windrush series. Marcia. 

Hands, drawing hands! Absolutely hate foreshortening 😏

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