Tara Collette talks about the inspiration behind ‘No one is illegal’

While lockdown means you can’t go inside HOME to see the exhibitions in our gallery, the 50 Windows of Creativity trail across Manchester provides the perfect excuse to enjoy some art while taking a socially-distanced stroll. We asked artist Tara Collette, who created the piece No one is illegal that’s on display in HOME’s window, to tell us more about the thinking behind the piece.

No one is illegal is a direct provocation against the treatment of non-white and non-western people and groups, not only in the UK but also in other western democracies. People seeking political refuge, communities escaping oppression, families travelling thousands of miles for a better life – all should be valued and treated at the very least better than the goods we import.

“The idea for No one is illegal had been in the back of my mind for quite some time. There used to be a campaign which began in Germany, it saw people come together to help immigrants in obtaining work, education, documentation and so on. I had looked into making this banner for the organisation however, it began in 1997 and no longer seemed to have an online presence or anyone to contact. So when Wild in Art, who organised the trail, and Alice Wilde at HOME approached me asking if I would be interested in making a banner I felt like this would be the perfect opportunity to create this piece and have the chance to display it. I knew HOME would be a great and welcoming spot for this banner.

“At the end of September, I read that Boris Johnson had spent £4.7m on UK immigration deportations in the past year. It felt like such a strange time to be reading this, wouldn’t the money have been better spent on our public services and the NHS? Especially given the pandemic. It was after reading this that I decided I would make the banner look, on first glance, to be the: ‘Stay Alert, Control the virus, Save lives’ graphic issued by the Government and the NHS but the text would read ‘No one is illegal’.”

Tara Collette

Find out more about Tara’s work at www.taracollette.co.uk