Antwerp Places, Spaces and Traces

In November 2019 I travelled to Antwerp under the invitation of Anna 3 . I was greeted warmly and by the members of the church community who were organising this once a year exhibtion. Despite losing my portfolio on the way and unable to show examples of my work as planned, I was offered the opportunity to exhibit as guest artist in the beautiful church of Sint-Anna-ten-Drieën 

Explorations of the spaces within the church combined with my investigations of  the surrounding city, the port, the Red Star Line Museum, the industrial heritage and the lace started to lay the foundations for the work I was to plan and produce. Little did we know then that Corona Virus was around the corner and this exhibtion like so many, would be delayed.  

Imperfect Plants and 'The Box'
It would prove to be an exhibtion, more than any other, built on trust, generousity of spirit and once again, of 'lost things found'. The work was posted into two 'largish' boxes. The one in the picture above, was 'lost' within the postal system and after a few weeks investigation on our part was traced to an unexpected destination and retrieved. The variety of labels are testament to its journey. 

It seems as if the story of the exhibition's construction echoes its themes, migration, the movement of people and things we value and perhaps also the things we lose and find as part of those journeys.

The connection we have with the landscape and ideas of 'place' is central to my work and the question 'What would you find valuable enough to take with you if you had to leave your home, and what would you miss if you had to leave it behind?  In recent times, these simple words have resonated as much as we found that our lives were  limited by the pandemic and we were unable to meet friends or family for a cup of tea, a meal or to pass the time. Equally, more poignantly, as continued conflict in the Ukraine, Syria and unrest in Europe and beyond are forcing so many more to flee their homes.

The exhibtion falls into three broad areas. In the main body of the church, the work Places, Spaces and Traces  reflects my connection to land or place and includes some new pieces as well as selected existing work some of which are featured below. 
Trees Installation

What Lies Beneath

In the stairwells, corridors and downstairs space are placed community responses to the theme 'What We Value, What We Miss'.

Postal response to What We Value, What We Miss
Crossroads  Textiles Artists Project led by Monique Gilbert

International and local work in the corridor space

Stitched Stories & Wellbeing led by Fiona Doubleday from the Isle of Arran

In the basement, which I likened to a ship, sits my new installation, The Shipping Forecast and Empty Vessels which was specifically constructed with this space in mind. It traces the journeys migrants may make using many materials I have gathered on my journeys and at the coast. With the kind permission of Anna 3 it was also shown at LV21 in Gravesend and at R Space Gallery in Lisburn. Also in the space sits the work of the textile group  bHobein.

  The Shipping Forecast and Empty Vessels

The work of the textile group  b-Hobein.

This interview on the Anna 3 website gives you an insight to the construction of the exhibition and open event, as well as further details of the community projects who participated.

The exhibtion continues until Sunday 25th September. Details of  the exhibtion including weekend opening times can be found here. Please check before travelling. Parts of the exhibtion moves to back to Kent later in the year and to Scotland next year. More details to follow.
What We Value What We Miss. Hand stitched linen in response to words sent via email

With thanks to the team at Anna 3 and all who have helped with the construction of this exhibition. Also to Fibre Arts Takes Two and Gary Weston for filming and editing the installation on LV21
 A few images of the open event below:



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