In collaboration with the artist duo Henry/Bragg, with support from LankellyChase, An Untold Story-Voices is launching an outdoor photography exhibition in Hull today – 13th July 2020, entitled ‘Absence of Evidence’. You can read our joint statement about the project here. The photos will appear on billboards, bus stops, large posters and parts of Hull and London over the next five weeks.
Absence Of Evidence is a collection of 14 images taken by members of our group and Henry/Bragg, as we charted with them the territory of Hull’s (now previous) injunction zone, revisiting sites of loss and violence. This became an ode to fourteen women previously known to authors of the book, An Untold Story, who lost their lives too young due to murder, suspected murder, overdose, substance related health complications and the secondary effects of working under on-street conditions.
Many of these deaths, just like attacks made against sex workers, are not investigated or categorised as they should be, and therefore the cost remains untold.
It is now more important than ever that we collectively understand that under conditions of violence, exploitation and marginalisation, it can never be assumed that absence of evidence is evidence of absence.
Life under a pandemic for many has led to an exacerbation of suffering, with a simultaneous decrease in support or ways to raise a voice, making what has always been real, even more poignant:
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
In the wake of a court case against Hull City Council’s dangerous and retrogressive legislation which disenfranchised street sex workers with the threat of criminalisation, fines and prison, we now hope to redress some of the culture-based misunderstandings which generated and sustained it.
We hope that this exhibition, shown not only in Hull but London too, will raise awareness, make connections, and prompt the right questions needed to begin the journey of building a safer environment for sex workers in Hull and therefore, everybody.