Protesting injustice through Art: Artist in Cardiff raises awareness for child poverty through her campaign

With her recent campaign against the tories, a Cardiff artist raises awareness about the forgotten communities of Wales. Isn’t all art political?

A few slices of bread, a pot of yoghurt and fruits to last a week – is the shocking reality that children received for Free school dinner. This encouraged a young fashion student in Cardiff to raise awareness for the people she grew up with or had seen struggling all her life way before the pandemic.

Louisa Moody, a student from the University of South Wales started a campaign called – the Forgotten Twenty Three Percent in hopes to raise money for a charity, Children in Wales – to raise awareness about child poverty in wales.

She said, “I knew it was at this point, I had to create awareness for these people you grew up with or had known your whole life that had struggled before the pandemic. Often neglected by those in Westminster, knowing full well this wasn’t just happening in my hometown, this was happening in communities across Wales.”

According to a report by Joseph Rowntree Foundation, even before the pandemic hit almost 700,000 people, which is a quarter of the population was living in poverty. The rate for children was even worse with 3 in 10 living in poverty. 

She said, “The idea for this current campaign came from knowing I wanted to use my platform and brand as an educational tool in support of a cause, every project of mine has always had a political nature to it and have used fashion as the tool to get the conversation started. I knew I wanted to focus on the impact of the pandemic.”

With her campaign, she hopes to create awareness around the poverty in Wales, especially child poverty and how little the government does to help. She believes that it will not decrease or get better when the people in power have no idea what it’s like for these people to live in these communities.

She said, “Counting their pennies whilst shopping, going without food just so their children could eat, sitting in darkness because they afford electricity or heating. Too many families prior to the pandemic but especially heightened because of it, don’t know when their next meals may be. This may sound all a little too dramatic but it’s the reality. There are too many families across Wales and the rest of the UK living in these conditions.”

Historically, a number of artists like Frida Kahlo and Picasso have used political resistance in their artwork. Art now is much more varied – it embraces environmental issues, feminist issues, ethnicity and cultural identity-making art a political stance. 

“Artists, creatives and people make decisions every day, probably influenced by political agenda or not. You’ll always have your activists who openly rebel and have a political voice. But even if you don’t, you almost are anyway, saying nothing is something,” she said.

Louisa has been inspired by the works of Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and Jean Paul Gaultier – for their rebellious nature and tackling the preconceived notions of what women should be wearing. 

“I believe art helps massively to make political statements, I actively use fashion as activism. People often look at art and portray it in a certain way.” she said, “Art will always provoke reactions from the viewer to be interpreted in one way or another.”

She believes as an artist her favourite thing is she can make people question what they thought they already knew. She believes an artist can stir emotion from their work, especially when it is of political nature to provoke a reaction whether it’s anger towards the artist or the subject which goes to create change is incredibly powerful.

The money that they earn through this campaign, goes to Children in Wales – a charity based in Cardiff – they support children living in poverty to children who are carers, to supporting children looking for job opportunities. 

“We made this a non-profit campaign, we’re not making any money in this, we’re not taking any money from the donations to cover our costs of the campaign. Everything people donate will go straight to the Children in Wales charity. As an incentive for people to donate we have held a giveaway where people are in a chance of winning the designed t-shirt and bag,” she said.

In one of the designs, the model can be seen wearing a t-shirt that reads, “fuck the tories and feed the children.” Last year in October, the government came under heavy scrutiny and criticism after more than 300 MPs voted against free meal for school children over the holidays. 

“In recent weeks there had been a lot of talk of people in these communities voting Tories as they’re fed up with Labour. We were never here to tell people who to vote for but to try and understand people in these communities voting Tories is baffling. These communities are bottom of the food chain, the people who will reap the rewards if any, last.”  

From being shadowbanned to images being taken down – Louisa had to work through challenges for the campaign to be a success. 

She said, “You haven’t reached the audience you normally would and that’s been an issue. It means you have raised as much money you would have hoped for. It can be quite disheartening but with that being said, I wouldn’t say the campaign hasn’t been successful. You’ve had so many people reach out and congratulate you on standing up for a strong cause and really getting behind you and supporting the brand, posting, re-sharing every post. You’ve also had people reach out shocked, disgusted, and angered by the facts and figures of the campaign and joining voices of the campaign.”

*If you’d like to support Louisas’ work – here’s a link to her GoFundMe campaign or reach out to her on Facebook*