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‘Gentrification is segregating east London’ says artist behind new show exploring white privilege

PUBLISHED: 10:30 15 March 2016

Adlyn Ross as Ila and Haley Gee as Deborah in Made Visible. Picture: Caleb Wissun-Bhide

Adlyn Ross as Ila and Haley Gee as Deborah in Made Visible. Picture: Caleb Wissun-Bhide

Archant

If you are white, your race is invisible – so critical discourse informs us.

But performance artist Deborah Pearson deliberately draws attention to her “ethnic majority” status in her new show, Made Visible, which will explore race, identity, and how it feels to be white, at The Yard Theatre, in Hackney Wick, from March 15.

Partly written and partly devised, the play centres on an imagined conversation Pearson has with two strangers of south Asian origin on a bench in Victoria Park. We watch as Pearson takes accountability for her whiteness in a show that aims to break down the writer’s privileged racial status, without guilt, or a confession.

“I thought about what scares me the most and that’s to talk about white privilege, to address the privilege and to make visible what I benefit from as a white artist,” says Canadian-born Pearson, who has lived in east London for nine years.

“I feel that unlike in Canada, east London is a segregated place, not always amongst young people, but particularly with gentrification. Gentrification is just white-washing, white people moving in,” she adds. “Apart from a couple of people’s parents I know who are south-east Asian, I don’t have any contact with that population, so I wanted to be honest about that.”

Made Visible runs until April 9.


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