Transform Yourself
Albert Potrony, 2019

A project with young women at risk of exploitation and artist Albert Potrony exploring how we can take care of our mind and body and use our voices in the world.

Copyright, 2019, Albert Potrony, LBBD and Jimmy Lee

Through discussions with the Child Exploitation Team based in the Youth Offending and Adolescent Service, it was decided that artist Albert Potrony would work with young women aged 14-18.

The Service Manager for Adolescents and Albert decided the main challenge would be supporting young women to take part. It was decided that partnering with a local spa would enable us to create an offer that would appeal to the young people. Young women were invited to take part in yoga sessions, and a head massage. They went on to design gigantic nail art sculptures which resulted in them having their own nails painted by nail technicians. Through a range of conversations and practical activities using sculpture, photography, dressing up and performance, the group explored their identities, women’s role models and women’s rights. They each led in a conversation with the Deputy Leader of the Council Saima Ashraf. Finally the group occupied the Council Chambers and hung a sign for women’s rights in the space.

"I thought that it could be a radical thing to do for these young women at risk of or being abused to experience hospitality in a safe environment, to take care of themselves for the sake of it, without an ulterior motive or benefit to anybody else. By doing so, hopefully, the act of self-care could help them to value themselves for who they are, in their own terms, and not by what someone else wants them to be. To take control of their own care." (Albert Potrony)
"You have to have permission to go. Because the pressures to meet the daily requirements of the tasks are vast… I’ve got a conference report, my assessment is due, I’m red on the dashboard that tells us how we’re performing, so it is about having permission to spend time.” (Social worker on taking part in creative work with young people).
"Even though my social worker is nice, it’s always kind of ‘business’. I feel like they have so many children to care for and look after and sometimes, after a while, you just get tired of going through the same procedure over and over again, loads of kids, can you imagine that. . . You guys were really friendly, you always made sure we were ok, you always spoke to us, ‘do you need this? do you need that?’, if you’re not feeling well you don’t have to do that. Just really sweet and kind." (Young person)
Albert Potrony

Albert Potrony is an artist with a participatory practice examining ideas of identity, community and language. Albert is interested in generating social spaces through his projects, and participation from diverse groups and individuals is a key element of his work. His most recent exhibition is Equal Play, BALTIC, 2021. Albert has worked on participatory projects for galleries and museums including Tate, Serpentine Galleries, Whitechapel Gallery, South London Gallery, Gasworks, Camden Arts Centre, V&A’s Museum of Childhood and The Foundling Museum, Louisiana Museum, Serralves Foundation and Fundacion PROA.