Making tracing of local grafitti for piece entitled To Think As We Choose, To Write As We Choose

The Abundance

In October 2007 I sailed 3,991 nautical miles aboard the last remaining Royal Mail Ship, the RMS St. Helena. I was on a voyage that would last for two weeks from Portland, UK, across the equator to the Island of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

I had dreamed of making this journey as my mother was born and raised on the Island and I had long been fascinated by the imagined isolation of the place. Also, my father was a sailor in the Royal Navy, so I grew up hearing tales of far off lands and life at sea and was keen to put together the pieces of the mystifying stories I had been told. I was aware of how these two people, spending much of their lives with access to limited resources, had a very particular and inventive approach to goods and materials.

During this self-initiated residency I intended to focus on the way St Helenians used and appropriated the things around them, and in particular how this approach to objects might alter with the arrival of a proposed airport. Naturally, my interests diverged as it became clear that identities, mythologies and histories were also territory for adaption and reinterpretation.

With grateful support from Deutsche Bank, The Museum of St Helena, The St Helena Tourist Board and the St Helena Development Agency, I spent three months researching and making work, followed by a solo exhibition at the Museum of St Helena.

Museum of St Helena
© Andrew Parker and DACS, 2015