#10 Care2020 was a year of unexpected changes and challenges. A year which we were forced to stop or to pivot direction. For some, 2020 allowed time to think, to reflect, to experiment or to change. It has also without a doubt highlighted how we care; for each other, for ourselves and for our communities. This issue of Photography+ explores photography in relation to care. We have published an exclusive conversation between photographer Peter Watkins and writer Oliver Shamlou, a conclusion to Watkin's series The Unforgotten, ‘to some future place where the centrality of this trauma is moved aside.’ Meanwhile, artist Othello De'Souza-Hartley speaks to us about his practice and forthcoming projects, including a new self-portrait in his father’s empty bedroom. We are pleased to partner with Wellcome to bring you a creative writing response to their current commission The Covid-19 Anxiety Project. Read a new piece of writing by West Midlands based curator and writer Anneka French who, when looking at the images, shares how her own memories of lockdown are evoked, and poems come to her. We are excited to share new work by Murray Ballard, Zoe Childerley, Celine Marchbank and Helen Sear for CONNECT – the 3Ts hospital redevelopment public art programme at Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital. Finally, delve in and enjoy the final essay by our 2020 Writer in Residence Marissa Chen: The Many Faces of Self-Care.
Vast environmental panoramas have been a part of Zoe Childerley’s practice for some time, cataloguing people and their landscapes from the Mojave desert to the Scottish borders. She has travelled far afield, immersing herself with rural communities to create bodies of photographic work made, often using mixed media, over periods of time.
For Beneath the Waves, Childerely has drawn upon the geographies nearest to her own home; the most Southerly ‘edge’ of England on the Sussex coast, and now our border with Europe, walking, wading and pacing the coastlines, ruminating on the sea’s geology, geometry, nature, symbolism and depth. ‘Since moving to the Sussex coast I find myself transfixed by the sea’, she notes.
As one of the four artists commissioned for CONNECT – the 3Ts hospital redevelopment public art programme for Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital – Childerely was asked to create a body of work drawing upon her ideas and visual interpretation of ‘coast’.
’For those spending time in a hospital setting – as a patient shut behind closed doors, as a visitor, or as a busy key worker – a moment to tranfix on another place, time or landscape can be enticing.’ To be engulfed in a seascape, is, as Childerley describes, ‘at once calming yet unknowable, conjuring a sense of awe and wonder.’
This series of images of the coast outside the hospital’s walls, just a meander away, is not only simple escapism for an audience likely familiar with the nearby shorelines. Rather, Childerely encourages the viewer to attempt a greater understanding of the seas and cultural landscapes surrounding us on the South Coast, using a range of photographic and research approaches as our navigational tools to do so.
Beneath the Waves was made by spending time meeting communities living and working on the coast and by the artist traversing the landscapes of both East and West Sussex exploring these settings. Split into three chapters; on the surface, on the edge and beneath the wave, Beneath the Waves asks the viewer to address their gaze at the multitude of aspects and layers of the sea.
In the works, our gaze considers life and work atop the watery upper expanse, from shipping and labour to the pleasing, glimmering inventions of sea and sky. Meanwhile, we are invited to imagine what is below the waves, from the perspective of mathematical mapping and cataloguing to ideas of fantastical, mythological creatures conjured from the minds of the early seafarers. Finally, we can observe the coast’s edges, its architecture, defences and armour, built across many decades but all inhabiting the same space.
The work, Childerely hopes, will provide ‘a source of contemplation and…a sense of belonging to the coast and its stories’.
Photoworks in partnership with Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Willis Newson and the University of Brighton have commissioned four new works for CONNECT – the 3Ts hospital redevelopment public art programme.
These commissions deliver a permanent collection of photographic artworks sited across 36 public waiting rooms within the new 3Ts redevelopment of Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital to open soon.
CONNECT, the public art programme for the hospital, will create a distinctive identity for the hospital and a lasting legacy of accessible, high-quality public art for the city, county and community. Underlining a sense of place connecting patients and the local environment, the four themes chosen for the photography programme of CONNECT are Sussex, South Downs, Brighton and Coast.
Text: Nicola Jeffs, PhotoworksLearn more about Zoe Childerley Learn more about 3TS Read more Photography+ here