2021
niall ashley

acrylic, oil stick, spray paint and screen print on canvas mounted on wooden supports
161.7 x 186.1 cm

"kicked out of school four times!? you must have been such a bad kid!".

I remember having a racist bully who my mum and I sent complaints about for a year. "there's nothing we can do.", they said. so I took the matter into my own hands, beating him up once he took the slurs and jabs too far. I immediately was excluded and sent to a PRU (Pupil Referal Unit). once I lost my composure from the added heat of being in a predominantly white school and the constant reminder of my blackness, there was no understanding.

a snowball started to pile up, and the gloss of being in a fair educational system decayed entirely. the last school that gave me the boot even dared to say I could teach myself at home, and they would keep my grades, totalling towards their low GCSE pass rate of 25%. I took their offer reluctantly, muttering, "fine. I'll be the bad kid with A-grades you so duly needed."