Liverpool Biennale 2018

This page documents our visit to the Liverpool Biennal on the 18th and 19th October 2018.


Walker Art Gallery

Our first stop of the trip was the Walker Art Gallery for the John Moores Painting Prize the UK’s longest running painting competition having started in 1957 and run for 60 years.

King and QueenThe winner Jacqui Hallum with her piece King and Queen of Wands, an ink painting on cotton fabric. The piece is inspired by a plethora of imagery taken from tarot cards, illustrations in Art Nouveau childrens books, medival woodcuts and leaded glass windows.

I was initially enthralled by the lightness and the fluidity of the piece and intrigued by the essence of childlike storytelling that left me wanting to know more. Always impressed by work on fabric it was refreshing to see that this competition is embracing painting in the broadest sense.

One HundredI was also very taken with the piece called One Hundred Harvests by Liz Elton. Again I was initially struck by the etherealness of the fabric and the tactile nature of the piece as it floated airily with the movement of air in the room. Made from water miscible oil on recycling bags stitched together with silk thread, it references our relationship with recycling and the way we discard our food resources so easily.

St Georges Hall

The piece Reenactment of Heaven by Inci Eviner is a piece that was commisioned for the Liverpool Biennale and considers the position of women in heaven, dismissing  perceptions in societies where women bow to that greater masculine authority. A unique film that distorts one’s perception, based on a series of drawings and recording using a green screen the lower part uses many props and masks that make you question reality. Interesting use of two projectors and the impeccable cross over between the projections in the centre.

Reenactment of Heaven

KeicheyuheaThe work Keicheyuhea (2017) by the artist Aslan Gaisumov (who also has the piece People of No Consequence (2016) on display at the Victoria Gallery and Museum. This piece shows the artists grandmother returning to her homeland 73 years after the Soviet deportation of her people to Central Asia with her community the Chechen and the Ingush people. A very moving piece where the impact of what had happened in this lady’s early life very apparent. Watching her as she comes to terms with the enormity of her return as memories of her life here come flooding back.

The screening in the courtroom at St Georges Hall is a film called Two Meetings and a Funeral by Naeem Mohaiemen reflects on the political coalition of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) and shows where conventient alliances were made during the struggle for UN Recognition by the Bangladshi and the Palestinian decolonisation and the Portuguese in South Africa.

Open Eye Gallery

The work Nigerian Monarchs by George Osodi depict regional rulers from Nigeria in their ceremonial regalia that now represent a long lost power. Referencing the colonial past of Europe and that some of these ruler’s ancestors were kings at the time of slavery. An attempt to redress inaccurate represntation by photographing these rulers in their stately and dignified manner. Personnally, I would have like to have seen photographs of their wider community with these images.

nigeria.png

Tate Liverpool

The Intermediates (2015-ongoing) by Haegue Yang is an overwhelmingly immersive environment that refers to both traditional arts and craft and modern production methods and questions the definition of paganism. Recordings of wildlife from the British Library, Suggestions of folk tradition, such as the maypole and a wallpaper that brings modern hsitory and pagan tradition together is most definitely an onslaught to the senses that brings about much afterthought in an attempt to make sense of the many representations.

I was keen to see the work Your face is / not enough (2016) by Kevin Beasley which gathers NATO issued gas masks, microphone stands and megaphones into an installation of unique tribal-esque masks made from pigmented foam and other materials. These items that reflect control of an overriding authority alongside individual or collective acts of protest, power and protection.

The Cheyenne-style headresses whose feathers are carved from the soles of Nike trainrs are a fascinating collection of sculptures. Made by the artist Brian Jungen, the pieces Warrier 1, 3 and 4 allude to pride and determination in the indigenous communities, and reflect the effects of colonisation and remnants of conflict.

I was especially moved by the piece, The marks left behind (2014) by Duane Linklater. In fact initially I felt so repulsed that I didn’t even want to go into the room with this installation. However, I put on my brave boots and in I went and although I didn’t stay long it was long enough to gain some insight into the fur trade in Canada. The skunk pelts very much suggest the life of the animal and their spirit that some believe remains even in death, a consideration on cultural loss, social anmesia and family identity in the context of current and historical lives of the indigenous people. A psychologically very powerful piece which had a huge impact on me. I didn’t photograph this piece.

Crosby Beach

Another Place by Antony Gormley is an installation of 100 cast iron sculptures – cast in his own image extending over a 3km stretch of beach, all looking out to sea towards the North Wales coast, in a seemingly silent moment of contemplation. This was the end of our first day and the perfect time to view the sculptures, just as the sun was setting.

Blue Coat

lionVariations on a Ghost by Abbas Akhavan references the destruction of ancient sculptures depicting the Assyrain deity Lamassu (half man-half lion). This piece is constructed using a technique call dirt ramming where soil and water are compacted together to produce a sculptural element. This piece will deteriorate and change over time developing a hard grey stone-like crust suggesting the deterioration of the destroyed sculptures over time.

Fact

I particularly wanted to see the work by filmmaker Agnes Varda at Fact. A three changel video installation that portrays a poetic outlook on the temporality and the flow of human life. The three films are Documenteur (1981), Vagabond (1985) and The Gleaners (2000) and I was most drawn to the film Vagabond which instigated a strong emotional reaction in me. The films question the effect images have on our personal and collective memory. One’s own experiences in life will definitely have an impact on our perception of this video installation.

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

The visit to Liverpool Anglican Cathedral was quick but interesting in particular with the Message of Love by Tracy Emin and a quick visit to the Whispering Arch. Definitely a must for another visit when I have more time.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Part of the large project, Time Moves Quickly, the commision by Ryan Gander of five bench link sculptures behind the Liverpool Metropolital Catherdral reconfigured a model of the modernist cathedral by Frederick Gibberd into simplistic building blocks. These were then reassembed by schoolchildren of Liverpool and reproduced large scale to create these five benches.

Victoria Gallery and Museum

Whilst at Victoria Gallery and Museum we visited two specific pieces:

  • People of No Consequence (2016) by Aslan Gaisumov
  • Tightrope (2015) by Taus Makhacheva

People of No Consequence is by the artist Aslan Gaisumov who also has the piece Keicheyuhea (2017) on display at St Georges Hall. This is a recording of the first meeting of a group of Chechen and Ingush survivors from the Soviet Deporation of 1944 to Central Asia. The film proceeds to document the survivors as they take their seats in preparation for this meeting.

People.png

The piece Tightrope shows the fifth generation tightrope walker Rasul Abakarov, transports 61 artworks across a tightrope from one hilltop to another in the mountainous region of Dagestan. He attempts almost impossible feats in his quest to move the artworks and one is not entirely sure that what you are seeing is actually real.

tight.png

Great George Street

Banu Cennetoglu has installed The List at Great George Street, originally compiled by United for Intercultural Action and distributed by The Guardian on World Refugee Day on 20th June 2018.  Tracing information that relates to the deaths of more than 34,000 refugees and migrants in Europe since 1993.

This piece of work has fascinated me, not only because of the sheer scale of the list, but because of the meticulous archiving and the story associated with the list and the subsequent removal and damage at the Great George Street in Liverpool.

the list

Pontio: Syria Art Collaboration

Nov 2018: Update: Unfortunately I was unsuccessful on this occasion, however the panel did pass on this message to me which instilled some hope for the future.

The panel wishes to share the following feedback: Although this artist is early career, it was a strong application outlining a relevant and appropriate approach to the project. However, we received several strong applications which allowed us to explore pairing different artists together, and in the event the panel decided to award the commission to the collaboration they felt would offer the greatest potential.

October 2018: I decided to apply for the Syria Art Collaboration taking place between November 2018 and January 2018 at Pontio.


Proposal for SYRIA.ART + CARN: Wal Wen (White Wall) Commission

For this collaboration I foresee many online discussions using the online tool best for both artists that will enable the proposal for the work to be developed collectively and enable communication for both artists online with Pontio, while the artist in Wales will be able to visit Pontio in person when required. This process will begin with some initial communications that enable the artists to establish a way of working that is appropriate and suitable for both people, taking into consideration the time difference of 2 hours.

A collaborative project between two cultures that has the intention of building bridges between those cultures has the potential to examine the similarities in our every-day lives and the environments and the landscapes that we live in.

The need for a sense of belonging and identity is inherent in all of providing security in knowing who we are and where we came from. As we grow the landscape around us changes, our impression of such and our memories also become fuzzy and altered.

Significantly, massive change in an environment can be brought about through the influence of the governmental decisions of the time. In their wake landscapes are destroyed for the greater good and all that remains are clues that allude to the environment that once was. The way that we view and interpret the landscape and environment around us can provide us with a metaphor that represents our identity and the loss of associated memories through the passing of time and changes made in the name of progress. Our understanding of the history of the land that we inhabit also affects our interpretation of our environment.

In reflecting on the changes in the landscape as an analogy for those memories that might be lost forever, we can reflect on the beauty of what remains and the strength that keeps us in our human experience moving forward in life.

Similarities can also be drawn between collective memory and personal memory in relation to world affairs. Our perceptions of world affairs are likely to be similar but different given our cultural differences and the fact our exposure to media is different. Yet I imagine our perceptions to be not to dissimilar given that we are still two people living a human experience in the world today.

Footage can be gathered from both Syria and the UK and amalgamated to become a cohesive collaborative artistic effort that demonstrates the building of bridges between the two communities.

Digital Media is a constantly expanding industry sector that provides an effective method for visual communication and can be used to represent the shared experiences of communities across the world in the internet age that we live in.

Having successfully used Skype Messenger to communicate with people all over the world and pre-recorded video loaded to YouTube for people in countries where Skype video is not available, this provides the advantage of saved chats in Skype and video content to reflect upon collectively when required.


The following images were also supplied in support of my application:

Below is the supporting information I provided by email.

Currently, I am in the early stages of a Masters in Fine Art Digital at Camberwell College. I completed my Bangor University degree at Coleg Menai in July 2018 with a First Class*. Primarily focussing on photography, video and projection.

Since 2016 I have spent time producing digital artwork that hopefully provides an empathic reflection on diaspora, displacement of community and the reasons for this displacement and the effects on the community as a whole. During this time, I produced work relating to these issues in a variety of contexts; the evacuation of children from Liverpool to Caernarfon in World War 2, the effects of war on the Syrian population and the displacement of a community at Tryweryn in North Wales.

In my own practice, I am currently moving from the subject matter of displacement to reflect on issues of collective memory and personal memory where I am looking at changes in the landscape through building and progression and how these might reflect our inner experience of memory and how these may fade or alter over time, a displacement of an inner kind.

Unfortunately, I am only English speaking – having been taught Welsh to O level many years ago, lack of use has meant that I cannot say I speak Welsh fluently, only a few words. Born in Scotland and raised in Wales has given me the feeling of being Welsh without actually being Welsh. Although I cannot say I speak the Welsh language I am fully supportive of the continuation of Welsh speaking throughout the community.

I have attached a current CV and a proposal for the collaboration project along. Three images are attached and the following links are also provided as part of my supporting visual material.

The following websites all provide examples of my work.

I am aware that being in the early stage of my career you may require a supporting letter. In lieu of this, I can ask my degree tutor to provide a reference if required.

Celebrating Women

Update – October 2018

The Conwy Festival is now over and the short film was projected in Conwy. I am really pleased to say my video was included in the film.

Conway Projection


I was really pleased to have the opportunity to send a video to Lisa Carter and Joel Cockrill to include in a short film about women’s voices that will be projected onto Conwy Civic Hall during the Conwy Festival in September. The film will combine contemporary with archive footage. Particular interest was in women who had participated in the Processions march and also those who felt the ability to vote had made a difference in their lives.

Here are the questions we were asked to comment on:

  1. What does voting mean to you and why is it important?
  2. Do you remember casting your first vote?
  3. What does it mean to be a woman/girl in 2018?

My one minute selfie video is below.

LLAWN: John Street Project

It was a pleasure to be a part of the John Street Project at LLAWN in Llandudno in September 2018. Below are some images of my work on display.

cadd0fe1-9a97-4ffe-a0e9-27df57ee7bd396ceb018-7614-4e39-b01c-cb1aeaa3fb3643988e64-74b3-4cfe-ae66-922c5d050ebf89360ab3-3de3-4914-96a9-e9fe9a40e66e

ELAN Valley Artist Residency

July 2018 Update: Unfortunately I was not successful on this occasion and on reflection I do see that I was probably competing against much more experienced artists and that I have little experience in Community Engagement. However the organisers of the Artist Residency will be contacting me directly when the next round of applications opens.



June 2018: I was really keen to apply for the ELAN Valley Artist Residency in 2018, particularly given my recent work on Tryweryn and my desire to continue the theme.


My Application Statement is outlined below along with the supporting images:


Weaving traditional with contemporary, historical with current, I am interested in the integrative nature of digital technology as a way of extending the media used as part of my visual art practice. Particular processes of interest are Printmaking, Sculpture, installation and digital art practices, film and photography.  Possessing a keen sense of attention to detail and a strong research ethic. I have recently focussed my artwork around social and/or cultural issues reflecting on historical events that continue to be of relevance in today’s society. In particular, there are two projects that are relevant to this application.

The first body of work relating to the Elan Valley Project comprises artwork that was completed in Spring 2017 for a student exhibition about Caernarfon at Galeri, Caernarfon. This piece, inspired by Hannah Hoch, explores the historical events associated with the evacuation of children from British inner cities during the Second World War.

Many children were evacuated from Liverpool to towns and villages across the North Wales Coast, including Caernarfon. This story, although historical has relevance today, given the issues of migration and displacement that continue to dominate the media. Historical artefacts were gathered from the time period of World War 2 that related to the theme of the evacuation of children. Primarily a suitcase, a gas mask and a child’s jacket, leaflets and photographs.

Evacuee Assemblage 2

To provide some clarity to the research, I decided to assemble a mood board. This provided the impetus to produce an assemblage of historical artefacts, photographs and leaflets from the time. This was all stitched together in the form of a map of the UK, with the stitching closely resembling train tracks. I also produced an accompanying book and video that reflected on an unaccompanied child’s journey from Liverpool to Caernarfon. After reading many personal accounts of these events. I devised a collection on bi-lingual statements that appear to reflect the general sentiment felt by the evacuees, their families and their prospective foster communities. These were subsequently used in both the video and the book.

Determining a theme that linked the historical events of the Second World War with current situations piqued a new found research interest. Honouring our heritage by remembering historical events that continue to be of relevance today. These events often determine the future, however progression is sometimes slow and similar situations or events continue to arise.

The next body of work of pertinence to the Elan Valley Residency comprises the artwork I completed during the Spring of 2018. A site-specific piece about the construction of the reservoir Llyn Celyn, flooding the Tryweryn Valley and demolishing the village of Capel Celyn in the process. This piece represents a continuation of an ongoing theme relating to displacement. In this case, the passing of the Tryweryn Bill that lead to the displacement of the village residents to provide water to Liverpool. Approximately 70 years earlier an Act of Parliament had been passed to provide water to Birmingham from the Elan Valley.

Initial focus for this project was on the effects of this controversial scheme on the local community. Of particular interest were the protests and rallies that took place against the Tryweryn Dam project that ultimately led to calls for devolution in Wales.

Inspired by the artist Tim Davis, who uses film, photography and installation to respond to and represent specific sites of interest. Davis also produced a piece called Capel Celyn. He cast 5000 wax nails based on a rusty nail found on the bed of Llyn Celyn during a period of drought.

Many visits to Llyn Celyn were undertaken so that the current aspect of this piece of work was a response to the site itself. Found Objects of note were taken to the site and photographed to create a record of site-specific intervention and response. This is a line of research that I intend to continue.

Two Visual Boards were created using original media photographs to describe the sense of emotion that the project had provoked in the local community. These mood boards were then photographed, and the photographs used in a 5-metre Digital Collage that seeks to remember the protests that took place at the time. Additional Banners were also printed as an accompaniment.

Celyn Collage

The essence of the work I have created for the Tryweryn work has formed the basis for the ideas presented for the proposed community engagement for the Elan Valley Project. The proposed programme of events I would create for the Elan Valley Project could become a template that can be used in the future for other site specific works with community engagement.

I first became aware the Elan Valley Project when researching the construction of the dams in the Elan Valley and was immediately interested. The Elan Valley Project would give me the opportunity and experience of working external agencies in an artistic capacity.

Having recently been awarded a First Class BA (Hons) Fine Art, I am eager to develop my skills and a practising Fine Artist and the experience of being an Artist in Residence for the Elan Valley Project will help me to achieve this. I am really excited at the thought that I might be able work as an Artist in Residence for this project, achieving a personal goal in the process.

I anticipate that it presents many opportunities for personal growth, development and collaboration particularly with my desire to work further with site specific art and the creation of temporary interventions for the purposes of photography, video and printmaking – extending the media beyond traditional artistic processes.

In my Technical career of some 20 plus years I have worked as a Software Trainer providing training and workshops. I also trained as a Yoga Teacher during this time and taught Yoga for a period of 10 years delivering classes and workshops. Moving forward, I am keen to begin developing workshops and events as an Artist in my local area, improving my Community Engagement Skills and Curatorial Skills.


I was also asked to “outline ideas of how you may engage with local communities and the legacy of your time in the Elan Valley”


Below are my initial thoughts on a programme of community involvement in my proposed residency at the Elan Valley Project.

I anticipate that over the six months I would stay in the area on approximately 10 occasions to develop art work and run interaction with the local schools and community centres in the form of a community project that culminates in an exhibition of digital fabric banners. The artistic purpose of the project would be to create a greater awareness of the integration of digital technology with more traditional artistic processes.

A programme of events and workshops would be developed to run in the local school community and the local adult community consecutively. The intention of the workshops would be to develop a collection of community artwork that could be included in the digital fabric banners.

A series of workshops where people can create vision boards reflecting the Elan Links goals and the intention of the Elan Valley Project a given theme throughout the programme of workshops. The overall intention of this programme is to create an exhibition of banners that reflect the community response to the given theme. The community will be encouraged to take photographs and create drawings and paintings of the area in between sessions that they can use as part of the visual boards.

Once the workshops come to an end, I envisage photographing each of the boards individually to create the digital imagery to be displayed as banners.

I can provide peer to peer mentoring at the community centre for those interested in improving their digital skills or those who need help and assistance with their digital technology. This is an important way that I can share my digital knowledge on to fellow artists, members of the local community and visitors to the area.

Ongoing throughout the project, I would hope to have access to a wall in the community centre that could be the focus of the project where ongoing work could be displayed.

To bring the project to a culmination, I would create a collection of digital collages that can then be printed on fabric.

A competition would be run for the best three visual boards for both the schools and the local community groups; these would then be printed as individual fabric banners and included in the exhibition.

A Social Media campaign will also be run throughout the project with regular posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter along with a weekly blog post.

Nascent Inclinations

nascent inclinationsI was fortunate enough to  be nomatinated for inclusion the the regional degree show, Nascent Inclinations exhibition at Ty Pawb in Wrexham, an exhibition of work from emerging artists across the North West region of England and from North Wales. Contributing Universities were Wrexham Glyndwr University, Liverpool Hope University, Aberystwyth University, University of Chester, Grŵp Llandrillo Menai and Liverpool John Moores University.

I also was asked to be the representative for Grŵp Llandrillo Menai and the liason with the organisers at Ty Pawb, providing information such as Artist Statements, Artwork Specifics and Images for the nominated artists, myself, Jasmine Dawson and Gwenllian Griffith to Ty Pawb and organsing the collection of work, both before and after the exhibition.

I produced the following pdf with details of all the artists work, so that it would be easier for the organisers at Ty Pawb to see the work available at Coleg Menai.


Below are the initial details put forward of my own work.

  • Three fabric banners, 1 measures 5m (w) x 1.4m (h), 2 measure 1.4m (w) x 1m (h)
  • Three Photographic Prints each measuring 841mm (w) x 594mm (h)
  • Artist Book measuring 30 cm square.
  • Two Video Pieces, one is currently projected the other on a TV, can be provided on DVD or USB if required. Below are the links to the videos on Vimeo.
  • https://vimeo.com/273187817
  • https://vimeo.com/273186821
  • Floor Piece – this is also attached to a wall with plumbing fixtures and measures approximately 3m square, if this is required.
My Artist Statement is also included below:


Below are images of my work on display at Ty Pawb.

IMG_8410IMG_8414IMG_8417

 

 

We’re From Further South Than You

June 2018

My work was accepted for this exhibition and put on display with the other members of CARN exhibiting at Undegun in Swansea before being moved to Undegun in Wrexham.

26th May 2018

I decided to apply for this opportunity. It is short notice, however I do have work that I can put into the exhibition.

 

21st May 2018

I received an email today from CARN about an exhibition at Elysium Gallery, Swansea with CARN, CALL, UndegUn and others. The email was to invite people to express an interest in exhbiting.

furthersouth