Breathe, the public artwork by Dryden Goodwin has since 2012 utilised highly visible artistic interventions to explore pressing policy issues around the global health emergency of air pollution.
Its 2022 interaction featured over 1,300 drawings of air pollution campaigners ‘fighting for breath’, taking over bridges, buildings and billboards across London and UK – viewed by over 13 million people.
Dryden Goodwin and producer Lucy Wood from commissioning organisation Invisible Dust will present on the project, joined for a panel conversation by air pollution research fellow Dr Neil Rowland, QUB.
Breathe has told London’s story of air pollution; generating wide public discourse around policies on city infrastructure and health – but each city has its own. This event will connect London’s air pollution challenges to the work taking place globally.
Following the talk the conversation will open up to interested community members to share their perspectives as we develop plans for touring the artwork internationally.
From 2024, Breathe is set to tour to a range of new city locations globally. Dryden Goodwin and Invisible Dust are working partnership with a range of key governing bodies and campaigner groups (including C40, Clean Cities Campaign, UNEP, WHO) to better understand the health and urban policy issues for each locale (regionally-nationally), and through the interventions publicly animate and interrogate – them.
This event will be a chance to explore the power of public art to spark community feeling and campaigning around clean air – and engender a greater stewardship of our shared urban spaces. It will provide a space to hear about the vital work taking place across Belfast and N. Ireland – and what we can learn from each other as we push towards cleaner, more just cities.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on Breathe (Art Newspaper, Oct ‘23) said of the project: “A great example of how art isn’t just there to entertain, but to educate us, too.”
More about Breathe
Breathe, the public artwork by Dryden Goodwin has since 2012 utilised highly visible artistic interventions to explore pressing policy issues around the global health emergency of air pollution. Breathe (2012), worked with Professor Frank Kelly (key health advisor to the government on air pollution and ULEZ) and Guys & St Thomas’ NHS Hospital Trust to raise awareness of health impacts.
Back in 2012, art-science charity Invisible Dust – the producers and lead commissioning organisation of Breathe – connected Goodwin with Professor Frank Kelly, an expert in lung health at King’s College London and a lead advisor to the Government on air pollutants.
Conversations with Professor Frank Kelly helped form the fundaments of the work Goodwin made – first starting with a study of his then five year old son moving in and out of a laboured breath, which was projected large scale atop of St Thomas’ Hospital, London for 20 nights – made with the support of Wellcome Trust.
Ten years later Breathe:2022 (2022) and Breathe for Ella (2023) worked with Dr Ian Mudway of Imperial College, Mayor of London, high profile campaigners including Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah CBE, and Baroness Jenny Jones MP alongside Transport for London and Network Rail to highlight the upcoming ULEZ expansion and the proposed ‘Ella’s Law’ (enshrining right to clean air in UK Law).
These latest iterations, which explore the insidious impact of air pollution and celebrate the power of collective action, are headed up by the influential figure of Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah CBE, whose proposed ‘Ella’s Law’, in memory of her daughter Ella (the first person in the world to have ‘air pollution’ listed as a cause of death), would enshrine the right to clean air in UK law.
“For me, drawing someone is an act of empathy, thinking yourself into another person’s life, their emotions and story as you draw them. As it’s clear we don’t all breathe the same air, the role of empathy will play a vital role if we are going to achieve the change needed locally and globally.” Dryden Goodwin
Dryden Goodwin is an artist exploring expanded notions of portraiture considering individual and group identities and narratives, the infrastructure of the city and its effect on human dynamics. Working with drawing, still and moving images, sound and installation, in galleries and public spaces, he centres on people’s personal, social and working lives. Contexts include transport networks, hospitals, airports and prisons – seeking to capture people’s physical appearances as well as revealing desires, philosophies, experiences, vulnerabilities and motivations. Solo exhibitions include Quad, Derby, (2020) OCAT Xi’an, China (2018), Queen’s House, Royal Museums Greenwich (2018), Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg (2009) and The Photographers’ Gallery (2008). Projects in public space include Breathe:2022 (2022/23), Breathe (2012) with Invisible Dust and Linear (2010/12) for Art on the Underground. Group exhibitions include Wellcome Collection, COCA New Zealand, Tate Modern, Venice Biennale and Drawing Room. Film screenings and nominations including Best Feature Documentary CPH DOX Copenhagen, Denmark, Best Feature Documentary Cinematography 24th Camerimage Bydgoszcz, Poland and International Film Festival Rotterdam. Public collections include MOMA, New York, Tate Collection, National Portrait Gallery and Science Museum. He is a Professor at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.
Art-Science organisation Invisible Dust is the lead producer and commissioner of Breathe. We work across the UK and internationally, bringing together leading artists and scientists to create high quality and impactful contemporary works of art relating to new scientific ideas on the pressing environmental issues of our times. Through art that is rooted in science we connect with policy makers, academics and activists, and communicate with millions of people helping them engage emotionally with complex subjects that require deep thinking, such as climate change. We successfully co-design each project with artists, partners, and scientists leaving a legacy of learning. We are a registered charity, founded in 2009.
Dr Neil Rowland is a Senior Research Fellow at the Administrative Data Research Centre for Northern Ireland and is based at Queen’s Business School, Queen’s University Belfast. He is also the UKRI Regional Clean Air Champion for Northern Ireland. Working as part of a multidisciplinary research team, Neil uses various administrative datasets linked to neighbourhood air pollution data to better understand the health and mortality effects of outdoor air pollution in Northern Ireland