No Shelter: Mother without Child

No Shelter: Mother without Child

Found object, hand-cut canvas

This work was made in collaboration with Lavanja Thavabalasingam for the Correspondence exhibition held alongside and in response to the Moore in Focus: A Friendship in Letters exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in 2014.

Henry Moore made a number of drawings of people sheltering in the Underground during the Blitz and his more well-known sculptures depict a mother and child. He also holidayed at Happisburgh where he discovered stones with holes in them on the beach, which led to his sculptural works taking the forms that are synonymous with his work.

No Shelter: Mother without Child was made using similar stones from Happisburgh. This work depicts the aftermath of an airstrike; there is no shelter and the child is missing. The hand-cut canvas depicts a cloud of smoke from an airstrike in the form of Jasmine flowers. Damascus in Syria is known as the City of Jasmine.

I did hope the work would be confined to history and not suddenly become immediately relevant today.


Walking along with Henry Moore….


Ever since I saw a photograph, taken in 1931, of Henry Moore, Irina Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Ivon Hitchens, and Mary Jenkins holidaying together at Happisburgh, I’ve felt the need to go there.

Retracing anyone’s footsteps will surely lead to something. The author, Richard Holmes retraced the steps of Robert Louis Stevenson through the Cevennes; finding out as much about himself as he did Stevenson.

The artist Hamish Fulton spends much of his time what most of us do without thinking: walking. Fulton, however, makes this art.

Whatever an artist or author decides to do with, and in, these moments of tranquillity often provides something for someone.

By going to Happisburgh and walking along the same stretch of coast as Moore did, in some way, I occupied the space he did. Of course it’s more difficult to establish a precise location; even using photographs will prove difficult because of the coastal erosion continuously affecting the Happisburgh coast.

When I stand in front of a painting by Bacon, and see the evidence of the brushstrokes, I, again in some way, occupy the space he did.

Walking along the stony beach looking at flints of all sizes, some half-buried in the sand, I wondered about the Happisburgh Hand Axe; a Pre-Historic flint tool dated 700,000 years old.

I walked in the soggy sand and felt my sandals scloop further down with each step. I wondered about the hominid footprints found here and dated to 800,000 years ago.

I kept looking along the beach…”the occasional flash of something that catches one’s eye…my god, look at how these cliffs seem to have been torn into by claws…”

I found what I was looking for.

I didn’t realise it at the time, of course.

Moore In Focus: A Friendship in Letters

Moore In Focus: A Friendship in Letters

During the early 1930s a group of people including the artists Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, John Skeaping, Ivon Hitchens, and Ben Nicholson holidayed together at the Norfolk beach of Happisburgh. This beach is well known for the effects of coastal erosion, and also for being the site of discovery of the 700,000 year old Happisburgh Hand-axe, and the recently discovered 850,000 year old hominine footprints in the sediment of the coastal floor.

Moore, and Hepworth, was particularly interested in the iron-stones found along this stretch of coast and the two sculptors used them to inform their work which became some of their most recognisable sculptures today. In addition to this they discovered many hag-stones (stones with a naturally occurring hole in them), which were, and continue to be, used in folklore as protection against witches, and malevolent spirits. The hag-stones influence can be seen in Moore’s, and Hepworth’s, works from the mid-1930s onwards.

To begin my correspondence with Henry Moore, I’m heading to the Norfolk coast to find stones that will inform a new artwork. This artwork will also be a dialogue between me and another artist, Lavanja Thavabalasingam. At this stage it is impossible to know how our conversation will develop and how it will end. It may be that my conversation involves questions I’ve yet to ask, or, indeed, find any suitable answers for.

One of the links to Moore, I already have within my art practice, is the use of found objects. By taking a stroll along one of the most beautiful coastal areas in England, I may find just what I’m looking for.

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, wants to sell Henry Moore’s ‘Draped Seated Woman’.

Henry Moore donated ‘Draped Seated Woman’ for people to enjoy and be inspired.

It does not belong to Lutfur Rahman and he does not have the right to sell it. I’m sure if the Mayor looks hard enough he can find other ways of saving money.

The connotation in selling ‘Draped Seated Woman’ increases the ideology that culture is to be enjoyed by those that can afford it. A truly disgusting, yet accurate, reminder of how the greedy, ignorant and arrogant attitudes of the privileged few affect the non-privileged many.

I ask you to sign a petition declaring your opposition to this shortsighted cultural sale.

It would be far more democratic to ask the people of Tower Hamlets if the sculpture should stay and if not then it should be up to them to decide how the money is spent.