In louring Hindostan London

Mixed media

In 1848 Ernest Jones was imprisoned for two years solitary confinement. A political agitator from the Chartist movement, Jones emphasised the importance of art as a vehicle for social change and in prison used his own blood to write epic poem In louring Hindostan into the pages of his prison prayer book.

Foreshadowing the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and 1947 Indian independence, his words attacking colonial rule can also be read as a description of the social ills and inequality of early 1800s Britain. These social conditions were increasingly leading to calls of revolt against the political classes who used politics to protect themselves, factory and land owners.

Alongside his poem Jones also sketched the built landscape created by the political and economic structures he critiqued and called for action against. His 1840s drawing A northern English town renders an imaginary, semi-satirical, industrial urban landscape.

My reimagining of this drawing extracts elements of contemporary London, sites of social destruction and phantasmagoric display, to consider parallels with our neoliberal politics, society & built space.