Hidden Histories, Untold Stories
An exhibition of my work at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery supported by Arts and Heritage & Culture Warrington.
While hanging this show I made interventions into the museum’s collection with the assistance of museum staff, selecting artefacts that both celebrated the collection and shed light on imperial histories, including objects that are being considered for return to their place of origin. My sculptures are made with specially sourced industrial and consumer objects, which I juxtaposed amongst the museum’s collection objects, creating dialogues that explore themes of consumerism, trade, expansionism and the wilful destruction of the planet.
The installation in the main gallery is called ‘Armada’ and is made up of supermarket shopping trolleys that I collected from different eras and filled with old cotton bobbins, atlases, money and bags of sugar amongst other things. The central trolley, titled 'Truth and Consequences', is filled with lit world globes and sits near the bronze figure of Oba from Benin, West Africa. The Benin bronzes are the subject of much discussion amongst museums internationally concerning their rightful home and there are plans for a museum in Benin to house them in the future. The juxtaposition of them with the globes comments on the relationship between colonial behaviours, climate change, inequality and injustice.
In the Ethnology/ World Stories Gallery I focused on artefacts that tell the story of what happened to Native American people when European settlers arrived on the American continent. And in the Cabinet of Curiosity Gallery I highlighted objects I found like a slave whip from New Orleans, a merchant's tankard and an Ossie Clark Gown. Interspersed in these displays I placed my own sculptures like Money Dress, 2010 and my paper money and map boats that make reference to travel, trade, mapping and migration.
Image credits: Work in progress in the studio with the artist and in situ in the galleries at the museum by Jonathan Turner & Susan Stockwell.
The exhibition has been extended until 18th April 2021. I will be there in March/April 2021.
Material: Mixed media
Provenance: Warrington UK