Gillian Wearing OBE RA (born 1963) is an English conceptual artist, one of the YBAs, and winner of the annual British fine arts award, The Turner Prize, in 1997. On 11 December 2007, Wearing was elected as lifetime member of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
In the early 90s. Wearing started putting together photography exhibitions that were based around the idea of photographing anonymous strangers in the street who she had asked to hold up a piece of paper with a message on it. Of these “confessional” pieces, Wearing stated,”
“I decided that I wanted people to feel protected when they talked about certain things in their life that they wouldn’t want the public that knows them to know. I can understand that sort of holding on to things—it’s kind of part of British society to hold things in. I always think of Britain as being a place where you’re meant to keep your secrets—you should never tell your neighbors or tell anyone. Things are changing now, because the culture’s changed and the Internet has brought people out. We have Facebook and Twitter where people tell you small details of their life.”