Shiny cars meet earthy art

The Mercedes showroom in Taunton provided an incongruous setting for a pop-up art exhibition, organised by Cath Esbester of Ginger Fig Gallery, in conjunction with Mercedes.  Alison Jacobs and I installed our work (and that of  Liz Howe, Frank Wilson, Craig Askew & Sheila Rendell) ready for a launch of the new Mercedes ‘B-class’ over the weekend.  It was an interesting combination: earthy art set against extremely shiny cars – copper wires and coloured metal gleaming in the sunlight.  Each did the other justice.   See pics below:


For me, winter is a good time to collect and hoard interesting found materials, gather ideas, catch up on admin and cast out my net for potential projects and exhibitions for the coming year.  It’s a chance to re-fuel and visit exhibitions too.  I saw Zarina Bhimji’s work at the Whitechapel, London recently (one of my favourite art venues), which encouraged me to think big.  Her evocative large scale films and photographs made me weep, with their haunting sounds and imagery – reminiscent of complex feelings about my own East Africa.  Anyway, my studio felt neglected until last week.  With several projects set up now and sunny spring in the air, I’ve sprung into action and creativity!

Using reclaimed materials isn’t new to the art world. Duchamp’s readymade urinal in 1917 was preceded by centuries of African Art utilising found materials.  I’ve been doing it for 30 years.  But the eco movement of today definitely embraces conservation, recycling and found materials more holistically in art – as in other areas of life.  As I said in a previous post, I’m excited that I’m a part of Bristol’s Big Green Week.  A new ‘world class festival of sustainability – celebrating the environment, art and culture’, my role as one of the selected Artists-in-Residence is to produce a series of eco sculptures, which the public can view in progress at the Create Centre and which will eventually go on show around the city in June.  Below are images of the start of my first big piece for it – ‘Man models himself on Earth, Earth on Heaven’:

It’s nice to be invited to show in Exhibitions.  Amongst others coming up, I’m really pleased to have been asked to feature in Delamore’s May Exhibition and the Bishop’s Palace Summer Exhibition (July – Sept) – both lovely venues.  For details of other projects and exhibitions I’m involved in, please see my post ‘current and forthcoming exhibitions’.  I can feel the busy period looming already…

Sherborne Learning Centre

I spent 2 mornings at the Sherborne Learning Centre recently, as part of an ArtsLink programme, working with 6 teenagers on some 3-d wire pieces.  They found some aspects hard – forming the initial structures being the greatest hurdle – but lovely to see their satisfied, happy faces at the end, together with great finished pieces, despite the brief timescale.  Tiffany’s bulrushes have been selected to appear on the cover of the ArtsLink main summer programme.