Haram Bawbag is the first in the Joy is Power collection, and is in memory of a brief friendship.
The title is also intended to convey the informal nature of emotion and consists of a word meaning ‘forbidden’ and a Scottish word for idiot or fool. My former friend refers to himself as bawbag when talking about me, as such it was never a term of abuse during the time that we were friends. It was a bit of a magnet relationship, we were very close friends and then I was discarded overnight after he bought a new hat and decided he was an artist.
The story is a complicated one, Bawbag was in trouble when I met him, and remains so, and so I decided to make him a present for his new cafe to let him talk it through. He did not understand why I would do this as his understanding of relationships was based upon power and the subjugation of women. The entire Joy is Power collection was inspired by this relationship as his final assault was based upon preventing me from using power tools – being female I was supposed to be incompetent or pretend to be and let him do it. This seeking of a role is flattering, but not really relevant as we weren’t interested in each other romantically.
In any case, the original piece is with him and had to be abandoned as he became increasingly erratic. This piece is the replacement and took over a year of careful thought. It lights up at night and is really intended as a children’s piece despite the tabletop mosaic being a visual depiction of his relationship with his former girlfriend, who has gone on to destroy as much of him and his family as she can.
The piece is now also a political statement as I have had to ask questions of the Minister for Justice in order to establish that the title of the piece was legal. Everyone in Glasgow understands it perfectly well. I have a friend, he has been foolish, he happens to be Muslim, the words Haram pronounced properly and Bawbag go together beautifully in Glaswegian. If you don’t get the gag, you are the racist – is the subtext.
There are ten or so pieces to follow this one, each will have a location around the west end of Glasgow and a label. This is with the intention of getting people out and about and supporting shops.
Hence, I have turned malicious gossip and a failed friendship into something beautiful. If you can manage to twist something negative out of that, there are frankly some issues you need to think about.