Political artist Tracey Moberly is addressing the silent epidemic of Hepatitis C in her latest piece Star Spangled Sinners, a collection of silver straws, each with one line of a poem about drug use, Hepatitis C, its effects and the ways of contracting it - when the straws are put together as a set, the entire poem can be read. Hepatitis C is contracted through blood-to-blood contact. but it can also be passed on by sharing a toothbrush, razor blade, or - you guessed it - a rolled-up note pushed to the top of the nose, where blood vessels are nearest to the surface. Having been closely affected by a number of friends and colleagues diagnosed with the illness, Tracey became aware that it knows no class boundaries or country divides. Hepatitis C sometimes presents no symptoms at all but may be active and causing damage to the liver for decades, and there are ten times as many people living with Hepatitis C in the UK as there are with HIV.
Tracey admits that Star Spangled Sinners is something of a paradox, but explains that "It was made to be viewed as a health warning tool, and not to encourage cocaine use, but help safeguard those in whose lives it is already ingrained." The straws come in limited edition silver, hallmarked with the initials TM in an upside-down triangle. Straws are £50, while long chains (85cms) are £16, with a choice of four lines from the poem. JL.