DORICH HOUSE MUSEUM: NATURE, NARRATIVE & ASPIRATION
By christinaillenapeake, Nov 29 2019 07:21AM
I look at Gorine and I see so many similarities in her story of the female immigrant but we diverge greatly through race, privilege and subject. The sculptures of Asian men and women interest me in what would their stories be two generations down the line and link maintained to home? Whereas Gordine focused on the form and movement of the subject finding uniques silhouettes in her travels to Asia, I am interested in the narrative of her subjects' underrepresented stories and their relationship to the natural environment.
My mother immigrated from Barbados in 1971 to the UK to marry my father, a white Englishman who grew up in Sussex but had lived in Singapore as a child and conducted business their through his car export company. My father would bring home plastic models of Malaysian dancers from work trips or my grandmother’s shadow carvings and handmade kimonos who hang for decades in the wardrobe. Gordine’s actions to mitigate her Jewish ancestry by changing her name but accentuating her exoticism through dress and manner whose actions I could identify with being of mixed heritage the exoticism was inherent with your physical looks but there was no capacity to mitigate one’s skin colour. The Icon collection in the museum fascinated me as again the similarity with the Caribbean and the integration of Christianity within society which reflects a deep cultural impact to the individual and their identity. My mother would note that connection, not through religious artifact but only through practicing christianity in the Barbados as she thought the British people didn’t understand worship as they expressed no joy in it. The Russian Icons are a sumptuous illustration of the divine which infer a supranatural family in the holy trinity but this is also the divine aspect of nature itself, therefore when looking at them again I found myself looking out the window at nature itself.
This house is a magnet for light a necessity for the artist but what I felt was also the embrace of nature through every window, looking directly into Richmond Park. When I designed and built my studio which is a tiny thing I added as much window space as possible and in the garden where it is situated has Jasmine tapping on the door every summer. I looked into Richmond Park and members of the public walking through it and the high walled gardens that reminded of the book 'A Secret Garden' that I read as a child and it occured to me that there is the opportunity here for contained experimentation within this unique museum environment, incorporating internal and external spaces. There are predictions that with the onset of climate change, nature is already evolving and creating new forms within itself, incorporating waste for example, into new survival strategies, so what could these new strategies look like if we take waste materials, the forms of the body and face as Gordine typified and nature? Gordine assilmilated into a new culture and created a new modernity within it so what could I create if given the opportunity? Incorporating my mixed heritage in querying the translocality and contemporaneity of climate change affecting Britain and Barbados (which is listed as one of the top 20 countries at critical threat from rising sea levels) and the artist's response.
To work with a museum, which growing up were the places that held the cultural artefacts of the communities that you grew up with in London, from Africa, South America to Asia, essentially the ethnic minorities presented through ethnographic and anthropological representation but rarely as the one creating, telling or presenting these narratives within the institutions although this is definitely starrting to change as I remember Frank Bowling and Kara Walker at the Tate Briatin and Modern or Elvira Dyangani Ose, Director of The Showroom gallery. To secure a residency in a museum like this, in the home of one of Britain's celebrated female sculptors would be the realisation of an aspiration that I have held for years, that I never though could be realised but I was worked consistently towards through design and delivering projects and collaborating with charities and cultural orgnisations evolving my practice with every challenge.
The VLOG page has 6 videos from the Student Climate Strike and Extinction Revolution protests held this year, footage from the coral reefs in Paynes Bay, Barbados in January, film of the Veridor green landfill incinerator seen from my home, plus experimenting with film journal in 'CAHJ & COLLECTED #12 and #13' for the protogonist called 'The Sacred Ecologist' holding what could be one day 'The last piece of the Amazon' reflecting a visit to Dorich House, creative practice, mental health and the mercurial nature of the future to come, that would inform the narrative for the next phase of practice work.