I'm planning an installation 'Fleet' for this exhibition in October 2023 and I will also show other work including Black Box, 2022, mixed media 88 x 44 x 70cm (When open)
I found this box on the side of the road, unpainted and damaged. It had held things it was misshapen, it had the marks of life on it.
I knew immediately that I had to make an ‘infinity scape’ inside it, to expand its internal dimensions and explore a complex narrative.
The two coastlines are approximations of Dublin bay, the mouth of the Liffey and its port, and that of Liverpool, its docklands and the Mersey.
My idea was to envisage sister coastlines and think about the connections running alongside the oppositional relationship between Britain and Ireland. Liverpool was the city to which so many Irish people came, fleeing poverty, famine, the shame of unwanted pregnancies and the lack of opportunities for women in general. However, many found the sense of displacement, the negative implications of being Irish in Britain ghettoised them emotionally and spiritually.
As I created these coasts, war broke out in Ukraine and I felt impelled to address the wider implications of displacement, the legacies of conflict the relationship between the invaded and the invaders. and so the artwork evolved to include the traces of destruction, the tools of war and forced migration.
The scale is simultaneously tiny and vast, intimate and universal. I want to tell these stories in a way that attracts the viewer to spend time looking and thinking while being respectful of peoples’ suffering and not gratuitously voyeuristic.