“We've probably never yearned for travel more than we have over the past two years. Art about travel can give us so much more than a geographical change of scene. It can be a journey of the imagination, and take us anywhere we want to go.
Whether we can travel or not, I think we should keep travelling in our minds and keep making new horizons in our imagination.”
Ticket Rug, Wool on canvas backing, Courtesy of the artist
Sydney, Acrylic paint on canvas board, Courtesy of the artist
Cloth, paint, stretched canvas, Courtesy of the artist
Coming Home: Not Coming Home, Acrylic paint on canvas board, Courtesy of the artist
Max and Herbie Waiting for Tall Ships, Cardboard, balsa, modelling clay. Courtesy of the artist
“I am a photographer. My German friend Herbie and I usually meet in some foreign port to chase tall ships. That didn’t happen in 2020 and is unlikely to happen this year. That is a long time without seeing my friend.”
Young Marlon, Acrylic paint on canvas, Courtesy of the artist
“He’s got such a lovely face. A very old Hollywood feel. In exaggerating the features you get a sense of a personality. We probably don’t like to think that our personality is just there on the surface. I don’t consciously caricature anything. I’m just recreating what I’m seeing and it comes out a bit exaggerated. When the resemblance is there, I can sort of hear their voice. It’s something that sort of clicks into place.”
Jhansi Ki Rani, 2020
© Chila Kumari Singh Burman
Courtesy of the artist
“Jhansi Ki Rani is one of my heroines. She is a widely admired figure and symbol of Indian resistance, dressing as
a man to fight against British forces in fierce battle. In this piece I’m acknowledging her significant female led act of resistance to British colonial rule in India.”
Without Us There is No Britain, 2020
© Chila Kumari Singh Burman
Courtesy of the artist
“This piece developed from my early involvement in a collective South Asian women’s magazine, produced in 6 South Asian languages. It makes a direct comment on the legacy of colonialism, and the significant contribution of migrant communities on the culture and heritage of Britain.”
A Dream of England, 2021, Cast iron. Courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro
“I made this car out of cast iron. It’s one of my favourite materials to work with. I sculpted it out of clay and had it cast in iron. I like the idea that it will sit there slowly rusting. It’s a piece of England. A memory of a mythic place that has died. It’s about a nostalgia for masculinity and in many ways it’s a memorial to my dad.”
The Egg, Aluminium, wood fibre insulation and plywood. Courtesy of the artist
“The ‘Egg’ was created and built by my Dad and I. The shape has been in my head for a long time. When lockdown hit, I moved back home and we had all of this time on our hands. 100 individual triangular panels were handmeasured, cut, folded, sealed and sanded. The process inspired me to pursue a Masters in Sustainable Architecture and adopt a more hands-on approach to my practice. The build uses sustainably sourced materials to create a womb-like home.”
Lost in Spacex, Digital collage, Courtesy of the artist
“During lockdown, my wife Claire and I travelled through the universe by using our
very own spaceship for the eyes. A 6” Dobsonian Reflector Telescope. It was a way to escape the planet and transport ourselves into the stars.
During this time my brother Jim sadly died. He was a great space and science fiction fan. As a child he collected Star Wars figures and we watched every episode together. The last and final episode was the last time I saw him in bodily form.
After he died, I mused on how when we die our atoms return to the universe. In effect we borrow atoms from the universe and return them when our allotted time here is done. As we wandered through the stars and galaxies it occurred to me that Jim was now part of all that we were seeing.
The piece includes photographs of stars and planets taken through our telescope by Claire. The other images are borrowed and focus on the theme of Claire and I travelling in space with our dog Jamie. Real and imagined spacecraft from the Star Wars movies appear. As does my brother in the form of Obi Wan now at one with the force!”
Willow Pattern Plate, Glazed ceramic plate, Courtesy of the artist
“All we can do at the moment is fantasise about travel. If you look closely at the centre, you’ve got the woman with a wheelie thing. She’s a holiday maker, like me. I’ve got my deckchair by the pool. The other two travellers depicted represent the tourist who, like the holiday maker, enjoys a bit of relaxation but is also interested in the culture of the place they are visiting and the third figure represents the traveller. They think themselves a bit superior to the holiday makers and tourist and they are looking for cultural immersion.”
Lockdown Travel ‘Advent Calendar’, SE1, Ink on card, Courtesy of the artist
Newport Pugwash, Spray-paint and plastic floorcovering
on wooden pallet, Courtesy of the artist
Cabin Crew – 20 Minutes to Landing, Acrylic paint on canvas, Courtesy of the artist
England as seen from Lockdown in Islington, 2021, Digital print on cotton. Courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro
“When I was working on this, I was thinking about how we were all travelling in our imaginations. I’ve put the floral material in the background there. So very English. It evokes an idea of England, but a kind of trapped, slightly stifling suburban idea of England.”
Marie Kathrens with encouragement from Taylor Kathrens Mayne
Of Two Boats, Paint on paper, Courtesy of the artist
“My grandma, Marie Kathrens, is 93. She is a former teacher and artist. She’s had Alzheimers for almost 10 years. She was always original, hard working and fun. Having lived by the sea for her entire life, her paintings are predominantly seascapes.
Living with Alzheimers means Grandma doesn’t experience life as she previously knew it. She can’t express herself in conventional ways anymore. Her lucid moments are becoming less frequent.
When she paints she is able to communicate with her present in a different way.
She had friends in her retirement home who helped her throughout her day. They engaged in all sorts of activities that helped her remain in a semi-coherent state. Lockdown took away the only stimulation she had. The decline in her mental health was visible. Her confusion rapidly increased. It was heartbreaking. It was clear she needed a companion who could encourage her to do the things she loves. I started going in on a daily basis. We spend two hours together being creative in any way we can.
It’s amazing to see what she comes out with. Often Grandma wants to draw seascapes. She loves drawing the waves and always insists on putting a little flag on the top of her boats. She has a playful soul with an infectious cheerful nature and she loves to paint. Some things never change.”