Together with two other Polish-connected artists poet, Maria Jastrzebska, and a composer Peter Copley I had an opportunity to collaborate on a project inspired by The Snow Queen story by Hans Christian Andersen. Following a research and development grant from Arts Council England we worked together for over 6 months. We were joined by photographer and video artist , Wendy Pye and performance director Mark Hewitt. We also worked with actor Rita Suszek and musician Ellie Blackshaw and sound engineer Simon Yapp. Our aim was to re-imagine this richly symbolic story as a vehicle for exploring contemporary issues: loneliness and social isolation, mental health, gender, sexuality, migration and exile.
Our collaboration culminated in a pilot site-specific art/video/life music and spoken word event at the Basement of the Regency Town House on Winter Solstice, 2018. For more info on this project, please check our blog:
‘Hush My Fluttering Heart’ installed in the Meat Safe
During the Snow Q event, the bird-like structures were suspended from hooks in the Meat Safe with projections created by Wendy Pye, soundtracks of flapping wings (puppeteered by Isobel Smith) and the Lullaby written by Maria Jastrzebska and Peter Copley. You can see a short extract of this event, including part of the ‘Hush, my fluttering heart’ installation in the film above. This installation depicted one of many chapters about being both captured and nurtured and is entitled ‘The Little Robber Girl’ . It talks simultaneously of conflicting emotions and of untamed love that is expressed with both tenderness and violence. The tattered wings are made out of scavenged lace and wire, gloves and hair. After the Snow Q event, inspired by Baroque Spanish and Dutch Still Life paintings of birds and objects, the birds/wings were suspended in fruit crates.
‘Gerda Chandelier’ installed at the Servants’ Kitchen
Upcycled lampshades, bras, textiles, plastic balls, approximately 250 cm high December 2018
This cross between the Cornucopia and a Regency chandelier is inspired by the chapter of the Snow Queen entitled ‘ The Flower Garden’. Originally exhibited in the Regency kitchen for the Snow Q event, it shows how Gerda transformed from a child into a young woman under the guidance of another woman who imprisoned her with a spell. Gerda’s metamorphosis is illustrated by upcycled lampshades which grow in size and complexity, starting with the bare cells of flesh that transform into a lush and sensual apex. During a performance, the chandelier was attached with delicate threads to textile pieces produced by the Young Carers as a part of a workshop organized during this project. The space underneath the table represents Gerda’s subconsciousness. Table cloth transformed into a shadow theatre reveals dark roots reminding Gerda of the sacrifice she had to make . Photography by Wendy Pye, Richard Clarke and Phil Blume.
‘The Lapp Woman’ installed on the staircase
Paper birds and fish with messages written by members of LGBTQUI group ‘Older and Out’, Dec 2019
‘The Winter Palace’ installed at the Servants’ Hall
Handkerchiefs and infant garments with transfers of photographic images, frozen in ice blocks, each approximately 20cmx20 cm