Walking the streets of London where my ancestors lived and worked, I am drawn to windows and reflections, tailors’ mannequins, figures walking past, a reflected hand, a clock: motifs that express fleeting moments, movement, and the passing of time. The past woven into the fabric of the present.
Cork Street - Reflections 35x27cm
oil on paper
St Martin’s Evening Light 35x27cm
oil on paper
My direct ancestor from the early 19th century was a tailor. His name was William and his wife Margaret - a needlewoman. I do not know what they looked like but I know that the couple married at St Martin’s, London and lived in Soho. William, the tailor, was buried at St James’s and even though the woman’s life is largely hidden, it is an important part of the story.
By researching these ancestors, I reflect on the relationship between time, places and events. Events and people from the area resonate with us today. William Blake was born in a nearby street. The same street was also at the heart of important discoveries about the spread of cholera. Memories, absence, the tension between the fixed and the uncertain but also the associations between people - living and dead - are interwoven, to create our present, allowing us to see ourselves and our own identity in a new way.
Cutting Time video 10’45’’
Sketchbooks video 7’7’’
In my sketchbooks I explore place and memory through collage, paper assemblages, drawing and painting. These books are physical locations where I evoke and assemble the fragments of the past and present in order to understand their tensions and affinities. I use photography, film, drawing and painting. Scenes convey the traces of three people, the tailor, needlewoman and myself, while considering themes of family, life and death, that are universal to us all.