4 Boys [for Beuys]
An artist activist book called 4 Boys [for Beuys] charts our four sons’ first protests has now been published! The 4 Boys are Neal, Gabriel, Sid and James.
Get your copy through the Unbound bookstore for £4 + postage.
We launched the book on 25 September 2016 at 12pm in front of the Liverpool Women’s Hospital – at the march to save the hospital from closure. We created a banner ‘4 BOYS BORN HERE LWH 25091612’. All four boys were born at LWH – and this book is about beginnings.
Neal, Sid and James were there for the launch. Neal had to go shortly after to meet his mates in town. Gabriel couldn’t make it as he was in France on a student exchange. At the launch and during the march we sold (and mostly gave away) 27 books – any money that was made was donated directly to Save the LWH campaign.
Photo by Joshua Taylor, discovered on twitter!
In the book the parents tell the children, about their first protest, and then they write it up, reinventing it, refiguring it and fictionalising it on the way, as much as they are able or willing to do given their age (14, 12, 7 and 16 months!). This is our radical family history storytelling.
The four protests (May Day 2001, Anti Iraq War 2003, G20 Meltdown and Climate Camp in the City 2009 and National Demonstration for Gaza 2014) are also narrated by four artists/activists x-Chris, Ritchie Hunter, Mel Evans and Ewa Jasiewicz, who were there at the protest and can offer their own specific account of the event. Anna Feigenbaum has written an essay on the history of social movements in the UK from 2000 to 2015 – time since we’ve been parents. Noel Douglas designed the book.
This was an opportunity for the whole family to rethink their protest history as well as understand where we stand now and what are we mobilizing towards.
An earlier, much briefer version of 4 Boys [for Beuys] was presented as a provocation at the Storytelling and Activism symposium at the University of South Wales in April 2015. We would like to thank Emily Underwood-Lee for inviting us to that event and thereby giving us an opportunity to develop the project and book.