The success of The Passage opening evening

Me with my work

Recently, my photographic series ‘My mum the lollypop lady’ was exhibited as part of The Passage. A show consisting of 21 artists displaying a diverse range of material, technique and concept. We were all united in the fact we all studied at Margaret Street School of Art and this really showed as we worked together to prepare our works for the exhibition. However, our greatest unification came on our preview evening 22/05/2014.

Inhabited under a railway arch on a back street in Digbeth was The Arches. The space is large, cold and damp in places. It still feels and looks industrial, something I particularly fell fond with as it worked well with the raw quality of my photographs. The first room within the space was more of a ‘white cube’ gallery showing more traditional or delicate works. A passage lead into the second room where the age and industrial qualities of the building were on show. Here, my photographic series was placed. My use of colour, the subject and the quality of my images, I feel, sat really well in these surroundings.

Through leaflet hand outs and social media, particularly Twitter, we invited the people in and around Birmingham to come view The Passage. As people started to enter, some we recognised, and some we did not, we realised that we had actually succeeded in attracting people to our show. The self promotion we did managed to get us in The Birmingham Mail newspaper and the Metro newspaper. As well as this, we had art writer Anneka French review are show. All of these documents can be viewed below:

The Passage Birmingham Post profile by Graham Young

Underneath the arches The Passage Birmingham Mail write up by Graham Young – Online version which was reproduced in the Metro

THE PASSAGE review by Anneka French

There was two performances on the preview evening.

As it reached 7.30, performance artist Nadine Paige Riley started to slowly walk towards a sheet of white fabric in the back corner of the room. Dressed in all red- a red dress, red high-heels and red lipstick, she had a femininity and sexuality that elevated in the bleak surroundings. In the centre of the cloth lay a industrially associated brick pressed upon a tomato dressed in a stitching saying ‘He Hated That I Was Born Female’.  The room silenced as she approached the brick, the clicking of her high-heeled shoes echoing throughout the space. Confronted with the brick, Nadine slammed her foot against it, crushing the tomato. Knowing the feminist values of the artist, I saw the brick, which was hard, heavy and masculine as a man in the scenario and the red, soft, natural tomato as Nadine who claims to have been suppressed by men her whole life. After attacking the tomato with the brick, the stitched words were placed on top of the brick and Nadine walked away from the performance with her head high. The artists looked towards the floor during the performance until the finale, the idea of role reversal was apparent, she had now become dominant and strong.

You can watch Nadine perform He Hated That I Was Born Female, 2014 on her Facebook art page below:

Around half an hour later, Ahmed Magare, artist and poet took centre stage to perform one of his poems named ‘she walks’. A heart-filled expression of the life of his grandmother, who is centre to his practice. Everyone formed a circle around Ahmed, which he used as his stage, acknowledging and interacting with all those around. He projected his words so powerfully yet softly. As a member of the audience, there was a great atmosphere and emotion as his words filled the space.

You can also watch his performance ‘She Walks’ on Ahmed’s Facebook art page:





Review of Margaret Streets Open Art Night 23/04/2014

At Margaret Street School of Art in Birmingham, we hold regular Open Art Nights. These are exhibitions organised by students, showcasing student work.

I will now be writing for the Open Art Nights.

Follow the link below for the most recent exhibition showing works by:

John Kaden | Aimee Jordan | Jack Marder



Image taken by Nadine Jones

For more information, and to read more, visit:

My mum the lollypop lady


Above is a image of my chosen work for my Level 5 final assessment. The piece consists of a written text (, created in order to form a stronger narrative, and 4 images depicting each member of my family including myself.

This series of images will be shown at the upcoming exhibition ‘The Passage’ held at the Arches Project in Birmingham.

Artist Statement:

I moved away from my hometown of Leicester in 2012, to the bigger (but not better) city of Birmingham. The transition from ‘family life’ to full independence has affected me greatly. The study of myself and my family household has become prominent in my practice. As a contemporary fine artist, I do not feel restricted or defined by one medium in particular. Instead, my practice is built upon displacement, my aim is to project this visually to create thought provoking work relatable to the mass audience.
‘My mum the lollypop lady’ is questioning the idea of family, drawing upon similarities but ultimately differences between myself and my family. Tragic events have lead our family to destruction, forming an invisible boundary between us all. Similarly to West Midlands artist, Richard Billingham, I observe each member of my family to understand them as individuals but also their presence within the involuntary group. There is emphasis upon my mother’s role within the family and the results of her choices on the group. As I strive for a better lifestyle, I wonder just how much my family has impacted my life. Are we bound to particular life inherited from our parents, or can we aspire to be an entirely different being?


For more information on the exhibition, please visit:

My mum the lollypop lady

As I look deeper into the lives of everyday people, in particular the close members of my family, I begin to discover things I had never noticed about them, or better put, had never acknowledged fully. Lately, I have been learning more about my mother and what her everyday life involves. Prior to recent times, she had been unemployed due to several operations she had had on her arm that had failed to re-correct a frozen shoulder. As a younger woman she had worked as a nanny and I could tell after numerous conversations on the topic, that she would refer to those days as some of her best.

My mum had always said that all she wanted in life was to be a mother and although, she would sometimes struggle in telling me and my brother she loved us, she would always remind us that she would ‘do anything for us’. I think there are many mothers out there, probably almost all of them, that would say this about their children. I couldn’t help but think that when my mum said this she really did mean anything. A few years back, like so many other women, my mum suffered from a miscarriage which I truly believe scarred her in irreversible ways. Since I moved out to go to university, my brother has been the only child left in the house and my mothers defence mechanism for him has led to countless issues in her marriage. Yet still, although, both me and my brother are adults, she still would always choose us. Loss has forced my mother to look for comfort and love from a different source. Most of us are familiar with ‘crazy cat ladies’, i’m not saying she is one but she now has many cats.

After years of not working, my mother has now been working as a School Crossing Patroller or ‘lollypop lady’ for the last 14 months. Inserting myself back into the life of my family, made me learn a lot more about who they were as people. As I observed my mother, I started to realise why she would hardly ever stay inside the house. It always puzzled me why she would always go out of her way to please others. Foremost, she was a people person but ultimately, her passion was children and I began to notice that all of her friends, who she visits regularly (everyday), all had young children. When she wasn’t at work looking after children, she was around her friends who had children and if she wasn’t doing any of these two things, she would be at home fussing the cats or having the repeated argument about my brothers current circumstances.

I think my mother has always tried to ignore the bad things that have happened in her life, partly, I believe the house held many of these memories. I think she can see beauty and innocence in young children, but more importantly, hope. She is always trying to improve the lives of children, in hope that they will grow up and be happy. A happiness that she didn’t fully have through her childhood, a happiness that I often wonder if she will ever have.

Different people, follow different paths and have different passions in life. My mother’s passion, from my point of view, is children. When watching her do her duty as a lollypop lady, I saw that she was content, if not happy because she was able to protect the lives of our next generation. Her job isn’t brilliantly paid as she doesn’t receive many hours of work, for obvious reasons, however, her job is a very worthy one. As the government continue to cut School Crossing Patroller jobs, we continue to lose the contribution from brilliant workers who are keeping your children safe. Some of them are not well qualified, such as my mother, and would therefore struggle finding another job working with children. Realising the characteristics of my mum and her passion towards her job has made me want to congratulate her and many others. As they continue to fight to keep their job, proving that is it a valued job within a community, I realise that they wouldn’t be doing the job unless they loved it.