Relics was first exhibited at Willesden Green Gallery in August 2020, following a residency at the gallery. During the residency I worked on a series of site-specific textile and cyanotype installations.
Flea markets in Europe feature overwhelming amounts of domestic detritus. Family photographs, letters, fabric and handicrafts are displayed in disorganised piles, presenting a striking contrast to the carefully classified artefacts exhibited in museums. Such differences reveal a valuing of certain stories and an overlooking of others. Personal histories are embedded within the surfaces of found objects; the intimate, private nature of these items simultaneously reveal and conceal much about the people who once owned them.
For this exhibition, I created cyanotypes from photographs of anonymous women collected at flea markets. The installation of these photos in a gallery setting displaces them from their original contexts. The role of chance in creating cyanotypes echoes the accidental nature of discovering objects at flea markets, while the partially obscured prints reflect the way in which found objects only tell us fragments of a story. The cyanotypes are documented and digitally printed onto translucent fabric which is then cut and layered, distorting the original images further.
Relics invites the audience to question why certain stories and objects are memorialised in museums while others are discarded. The process of organising fragmented photos resembles detective work as I work to identify the significance of these images and how they fit together. Fabric, embroidery and portraits of women take up space in the gallery, highlighting the unseen labour of women and paying homage to the often overlooked domestic crafts.