Bioplastic shoes and the beginning of a PhD

I have previously explored bioplastic as a material within my work and because of the biodegradability of it as a material it became an interesting material for the exploration of unidentified human remains. Gelatine is a biopolymer that is typically a waste product from the food industry. When mixed with glycerine it produces a fairly robust clear, sheet material. Gelatine is bodily, it is made from pig collagen sourced from skin, bone and connective tissue. Gelatine as a product also directly references forensics because pigs are used in the UK to train cadaver dogs because they are the closest animal proxy to the human body.

Gelatine Bioplastic is transparent, ephemeral and malleable, and easily made in a home kitchen. Because of its transparency it has a ghostly appearance, a physical embodiment of what is missing, barely there. Bioplastic is biodegradable, slowly breaking down just as our bodies would and becoming part of the immediate surroundings, and like us it is made predominantly of water that slowly evaporates as it dries. Evaporation is also ghostly; moisture is held in the air as it evaporates but remains unseen. These references to the unseen also directly evidence the unseen in society – the lonely, the homeless or outsiders as many unidentified people inevitably are.

With some experimentation I have developed a way of making clothes and shoes from gelatine bioplastic. Clothing and shoes represent the people who once owned them. We choose what to wear each day, to both fit in or stand out, these are conscious decisions that define us and determine how we are perceived to others. These items are also used to help with the identification of an individual. As previously mentioned, belongings and items of clothing are listed within the entries on the missing persons database. Clothes are often kept after the death of a loved one, ‘as a point of material contact with the body of a once living person. They thus provide a means by which memories of that living body can be generated.’ (Hallam and Hockey, 2001) Clothes and shoes are vessels or containers, a reliquary that remind us who they belonged to and ‘is so ‘potent’ because it exists as material that is both familiar and other: it is a materialized extension of the embodied person and the material mark of their death.’ (Hallam and Hockey, 2001)                                                      

Shoes particularly explore transience or movement from one place to another, from one city to another, from life to afterlife, from existence to no longer existing. The saying ‘If the shoe fits’ refers to something being the truth about someone and of course Cinderella was identified because of a shoe!

Hallam, E. and Hockey, J. L. (2001) Death, memory, and material culture. Death, memory & material culture Oxford: Berg.

Srebrenica Memorial Week 2020

Remembering Srebrenica Memorial Exhibition 2020

2020 marks 25 years since the Srebrenica Genocide. Remembering Srebrenica has launched a virtual museum.

I am honoured to have my piece Lie Down included within this moving exhibition as a reminder that this should never happen again.

https://www.srebrenicaexhibition.com/

Remembering Srebrenica Memorial Exhibition 2020

During the same week ‘Lie Down’ was also exhibited within another exhibition held by YMCA North Staffordshire .

YMCA North Staffordshire Memorial Exhibition

Divided Selected for Nou Wave

Nou Wave Gallery
Nou Wave Gallery

Divided has been selected by Nou Wave gallery to be exhibited at The Old Biscuit Factory from 15th November to 21st November.

The Private View is 15th November 6-9pm

Nou Wave is a pop up gallery focused on elevating the most exciting artists in the UK.

About Nou Wave Gallery

“Nou Wave” is a fact finding mission to find the next wave of great artists living and working in the UK. We celebrate creativity in all of it’s diverse forms.

We accept everyone. We have no qualms about questioning the status quo.

We challenge the conventional wisdom of a white wall gallery by asking: what else could go in there?

Lie Down at Conflict and Identity Conference

Conflict-and-Identity-Conference-Logo
Conflict-and-Identity-Conference-Logo

‘Lie Down’ was exhibited at Lincoln College Oxford for the Conflict and Identity Conference 17th – 18th October.

I also spoke about my work during the conference

https://www.cico2019.com

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Corpse Work

I will be speaking at the one day symposium ‘Interdisciplinary Approaches to Corpse Work‘ event in June about my research surrounding cloth and clothing found in mass graves.

Abstract

My research explores fabric and clothing found in mass graves which has evolved into interdisciplinary sculptural installation artwork. Memory, individuality and identity is indelibly left behind within materials and belongings including our bones. In this paper I will discuss how my research develops into artwork exploring identity and individuality. I will show examples of my work to date as well as exploring the themes that I propose to continue to research within a PhD next year. Textiles and clothing are often part of the primary tools used to identify human remains after atrocity. In Rwanda people had made their own clothing making it very personal and individual. In Bosnia, particularly Srebrenica, people had not been able to leave the enclave, and resorted to making and repairing their clothing. In Iraq, many people began to sew their identity documents into secret pockets within their clothing. These identity documents were later vital for the identification of the dead. The fabric used as blindfolds and ligatures, in Bosnia Herzegovina were consistent across many mass grave sites this evidence was part of the proof that events at Srebrenica amounted to genocide. Fabric is an important part of identifying these individuals and it is this research that has formed the basis of my artistic practice for the last 3 to 4 years. I have explored evidence of fabric found within Mass Graves predominantly within Bosnia but also other countries including Kosovo and Iraq. Borders too are an important element for my exploration, the borders between countries as a touchpoint for conflict, but clothing and skin, life and death, homeland and refugee are also borders. This work has evolved through my undergraduate degree in Textiles for which I was awarded first class honours, and into my current MFA (Master of Fine Art) at Oxford Brookes University.

The supporting booklet can be downloaded here.

Chromantics

chromantics exhibition

I am excited to have had work selected for the upcoming ‘Chromantics’ Exhibition.

A selection of artworks from some of OVADA’s Associate Artists pair together for a dramatic collection of colour and creativity. This playful arrangement of striking paintings and sculpture set out to challenge the audience on what modern art can be. Curator and artist, Tommy Watkins, invites you to explore this unique off-site exhibition and meet the people who are shaping the Oxfordshire art scene.

Opening reception and artist talk: Saturday 6 April 2019, 5-8pm.

Exhibition runs from 3 – 28 April 2019
Gallery Open: Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 8pm and Sunday, 11am – 4pm.

VENUE: Cornerstone Gallery

DIRECTIONS: 10 minute journey on train from Oxford City Centre to Didcot Station. 3 minute walk from Train station to Cornerstone Gallery.

With special thanks to Cornerstone Arts Centre and OVADA Associates.

Srebrenica Memorial Day

July 11th is Srebrenica Memorial Day, the anniversary of the fall of Srebrenica and this year on the 23rd anniversary I was invited to attend two memorial events. One at Oxford Town Hall with Oxford’s Lord Mayor and I was also invited by Remembering Srebrenica to attend the London Memorial service at The Guildhall as a community champion.

During the Oxford service I was asked to light a candle to remember those killed in the genocide and I was also invited to speak about my 8372 cards project.

I currently have a piece of work installed downstairs in the entrance of The Town Hall. It is a direct response to the genocide at Srebrenica and is titled ‘8372 cards’. I wanted to visualize the enormity of what happened at Srebrenica in 1995 and to try to consider the identity and individuality of each of those killed.

Over the last couple of weeks I have invited volunteers to events across Oxford. These volunteers have individually hand number all 8372 business cards with an automatic number stamp.

For me business cards represent identity, status and the ability to make contact with someone, however many individuals have yet to be found at Srebrenica and their families remain desperate to know where they lie. The act of numbering was a powerful experience for everyone who took part and each felt deeply moved by it.

All 8372 cards have been displayed here at the town hall in their entirety but today I ask you to take a card to remember each of those individuals who died, and to remind ourselves of the consequences of hate.

Thank you

In London at The Guildhall I installed my piece ‘Lie Down‘ within the reception area. I met and spoke to many fascinating people and had the opportunity to explain my work. During the service I was one of the candle bearers.

 

 

Funding granted for a Srebrenica Memorial

I am excited to have had Funding granted for a Srebrenica Memorial by Oxford City Council.

Funding granted for a Srebrenica Memorial For this project I will print 8372 business cards, that will be individually numbered/editioned 1/8372, 2/8372 etc on one side. The other side of the card will have a brief paragraph explaining the history of what happened at Srebrenica in 1995 as well as an explanation of the piece of  work.

These business cards remind us of each of those people killed without actually naming them. Business cards represent identity, status and the ability to make contact, many of those who died still remain missing.

The process of numbering will be an important act. I intend to host a two day event within the project space at Magdalen Road Studios and invite artists and members of the public to participate in the numbering of each of the 8372 cards. Each of these volunteers will conceptually represent the perpetrators, condemning each of the individual victims. This process will engage each volunteer to consider more deeply the events and actions of 23 years ago.

Srebrenica Memorial week runs from the 8th to the 15th July. I am hoping to exhibit all of the cards in their entirety at the Town Hall in Oxford from 8th to 11th July. Then from the 11th July  I will begin to hand out these cards within public spaces metaphorically exhuming each of the individuals and acknowledging their existence. This will be an act of remembrance that will help to raise awareness and remind us all of the consequences of hate.

I will continue to document the process here as well as on my social media channels.