Documenting daily life through reportage drawing

Kagia, Mercy (2013) Documenting daily life through reportage drawing. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, uk.bl.ethos.587416.

Abstract

This thesis is a practice-based inquiry into contemporary Reportage Drawing in the UK. The role of the practice in present day, its various forms and purposes and how digital media has influenced both the working process and reception of such work, is discussed through comparisons of visual work and theoretical engagement from practitioners. Verbal and visual contributions from current artists about their methods, means and motivations are included to present a clear picture of the varied forms of documentary drawing. This research is structured around questions and issues raised about the process of Reportage Drawing from original reportage drawings made observing everyday life in Kisumu, western Kenya. It begins with a brief historical overview of Reportage Drawing and develops with chapters visually engaging with the drawings from Kisumu and other artist's contirbutions. The main body of drawings is designed to be viewed as a visual display as specific groups of drawings create a dialogue about the various issues raised. At the heart of this research is the investigation into observational drawing, the presence of the reportage artist as a documenter of the every day and the question of the importance of this specific field of art. Attention is paid to the practical aspects of making work as this often influences artists' choice in engaging in this form of drawing while reasons behind the commissioning of reportage artists are also elaborated on. This all contributes to the objectives of this thesis, which is to create the start of a database of contemporary reportage artists, present a clear picture of the nature of reportage drawing in' present day, including its limitations, and reflect on my own work in the light of others' while championing this practice.

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