Ali Lochhead

Art for Peace. Series 2, shoes.

Alison Lochhead is an artist whose work reflects upon the fragmentation of memory and witness of injustices. Her work explores the impact war and conflict has on the world and the environment; the destruction of livelihoods, identities, securities, homes, the migrations, the inhumanities and the hopes of change. 

Alison works with heat and materials from the earth; iron, clay, rocks, oxides. From molten iron poured from the cuploa and materials put into the kiln; alchemy takes place as the various materials are drawn together or reject each other; they are transformed. A story is told.

Alison Lochhead worked for years internationally and would often be in post conflict zones and in camps and places where people were extremely vulnerable and ‘hanging on’ and ‘waiting’. Alison would come across abandoned shoes; but so often just one. She started to make sculptures with shoes by putting a shoe into a sand mould and pouring molten iron into them and also dipped shoes into clay and fired them. 

Alison has been working on the theme of the impact of war and social injustices that impact on all our lives for a long time. Her works explore the aftermath of war and conflict; the bombed out buildings; the lives which people have to continue to try and live within the rubble; the waiting in limbo in camps; the hope for safety and refuge; usually to be dashed after horrendous, exploitative and dangerous journeys. To leave everything that is dear to you and undertake a journey of unimaginable uncertainties and fear, risking yourself as well as your children’s lives; because you have no choice but to try for survival; is extraordinary. Can you imagine having such courage; simply because you had no choice? Alison’s work also explores the destruction of identities and histories through bombing of libraries, but the words and histories cannot be destroyed. People are wonderfully strong and full of courage.

Today there are over 78 conflicts happening in the world; people need to find safety. The reality of climate change means all of us need to seek a safe place to live and we must work together.

Art for Peace will appear in several spaces at Keele University and in Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre in the lead up to Refugee Week 2022. Spaces will include:

Keele University Art Gallery, Chancellor's Building
Series 1, paintings
Friday 6 May - Thursday 9 June
OPENING HOURS: Monday - Friday 9am - 8pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am - 4pm

Chapters Cafe, Keele University, Union Square
Series 2, shoes
Friday 6 May - Monday 27 June
OPENING HOURS: Monday - Friday 10am - 7pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am - 4pm

Newcastle Common, 23 High Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme ST5 1QZ
Series 3, libraries
Tuesday 24 May - Saturday 25 June
OPENING HOURS: Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11am - 4pm

Astley Walk, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5 2AH
Series 4, sculptures
Tuesday 24 May - Saturday 25 June 

Event date
Event Time
Chapter's Cafe, Union Square, Keele University
Contact email
Contact telephone
01782 734340