Silver Thread of Empire, Group Exhibition, 2013
Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, 11 Church Street, London, London, United Kingdom
The main piece in the exhibition 'Sail Away' consisted of simple paper boats made from paper money. Concerned with the fragility of life and the world’s ecology, economy and political constructs, the boats are provocative, poignant and playful
The exhibition title is taken from a quote by Winston Churchill referring to the River Thames as the Silver Artery of the Empire, connecting the homeland to the Empire throughout British history. Sailing up the River Thames with queen Elizabeth II in 1954 Churchill was actually telling the Queen off for calling the Thames an "awful, dirty river” (though as it had turned out Churchill himself had never sailed up the river before). The title was inspired by this story but also refers to the money notes in 'Sail Away' that are manufactured with a silver thread running through them and are sewn together to make boats with silver thread. The boats snaked across the gallery floor and the viewer had to carefully tread a path through to see the rest of the exhibition. In mythology boats are symbolic of the transition from the material to the spiritual world and are carriers for our dreams as well as vessels for adventures, war, escape and journeys. Other work in the exhibition included 'Manchester Arteries', a map of Manchester from the year Susan was born, sewn in red thread onto old blankets inherited from her grandmother.