There is more than one way to look at any given situation
Using two way translucent mirror film, designed to protect glass buildings from the outside elements. Placing the film, as full length blinds, from ceiling to the floor. Close together, reflecting off each other, the blinds challenge the line between perception and deception. It confronts who is watching or protecting whom and from what. Who is on the inside and who is left outside and which is which?
2017 Inverse Refection, The Arts Forum, Hastings / In the Dock, University of Kent, Old Chatham Dockyard
Bank Street, Canary Wharf
This residency, facilitated by Andrea Coltman, brought sharply into focus the real trade behind one of the busiest docks in the western world.
During the seventeen & eighteenth centauries trinkets left Canary Wharf to be traded for slaves in Africa, which were then transported and sold in exchange for sugar and spices before returning to London. These merchants got enormously rich, quickly. They widely exploited the white dockers too, without any reguard for their safety, life was cheap; many fell into the wharf, drowned and sank. A couple of weeks later their bodies filled with gases would float to the surface to be recovered. Fortunately life for them became easier with the emergence of the trade unions in the nineteen hundreds. Yet little or no acknowledgement has been extended to African/Brits who are the descendants of this trade.
As the second financial district in London, occupied by a minion corporate workforce, it still maintains a blinkered attitude to its hidden history and the root of its commercial success. And the attitude to exploit for commercial gain still continues, under the guise of corporate trade through loans and investments to under developed countries. When a country defaults, the multinational corporation demands their natural raw commodities as collateral to offset their debts.
The British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare is advocating a national slavery museum - where more appropriate than Canary Wharf?
It is imperative if we are to have a deeper understanding of our wealth as a nation and atone for the sins of our ancestors. We owe it to the next generation; we must lead the tide of social justice and equality for all. A slavery museum in the United Kingdom will be cathartic for our deeply wounded community.
Title inspired by the Whitechapel Gallery exhibition, London 1956.
2017 This is Tomorrow - University of Kent, Tonbridge / In the Dock - Old Naval Dockyard, Chatham / This is Tomorrow - Kaleidoscope Gallery, Sevenoaks