As an artist, curator and researcher I create new stories from old, exploring whether art can empower or heal.
Questioning the ways in which histories attach to collections of objects, textiles and photographs I work both in a studio space alone, and sometimes with communities to share the tales and fragmented memories passed down by different generations.
These artworks and collaborations take the form of installations, texts, drawings, paintings and videos. Sometimes they involve other women in their making to celebrate hidden stories of survival. Exhibitions and projects take place in many different spaces and have included The University of Manchester Dermatology Research Centre, The Pankhurst Centre, Manchester, Spurr House Day Care Centre, and Bury, regional education centres museums. Exhibitions in the UK and Europe, include at Cornerhouse Manchester, Kultur Bunker Cologne, The University of Manchester and Bury Art Gallery.
Dark Room 2020
Made for 'The Festival of Belonging' in Manchester, 'Dark Room' explored questions of identity and ownership of images.
Eleven photographs from the collection of The Manchester Jewish Museum were reprinted and placed (as though drying in a photographer's darkroom) in an immersive environment. They were precariously hung together, uncurling gently to emphasise the capture of a fleeting moment. Local communities discussed the feelings they evoked, sharing stories about their own photographs, where both the history of the photographer and of the places or people photographed (as in the eleven photographs) had been lost or were unknown.
A small series of Plaster of Paris sculptures 'Dark Room Fragments', reflect on the details that, as Barthes describes, wounds us when a particular part of a photograph 'pricks' the viewer.
Lodz Banquet 2019
'Lodz Banquet' was made in collaboration with the Centre of Jewish Studies at The University of Manchester. As part of The '50 Objects Project' a selection of two objects from the John Rylands Collection of Jewish artefacts became the focus for a piece of work that forms part of a larger research project with invited artists.
The objects - an Indian marriage contract and a lavishly illustrated Italian scroll of Esther prompted memories of textiles and wallpapers designed by lost family in Europe before the war. The scroll tells of Esther's bravery and wit, saving the Jewish people from harm. Feasting and banquet scenes cover a large section of the text, and similarly the marriage contract is decorated with images of celebration: lush foliage, flowers and animals.
'Lodz Banquet' is a celebration of many women's lives - three women from Lodz (our great grandmother Helena, and her daughters Tycia and Rusha), and the many unknown women who had sewn the 'found' cloths. They may have sewn their own celebratory cloths and feasted at Purim, making meals and reflecting upon the story of Esther. The embroidered cloths were 'found' textiles made by women whose stories are lost. In the piece the embroidery stitches (copied to match) mingle with those made by those of unknown embroiderers. The histories of these lost women (who probably died in Auschwitz) are shared by us all.
Working with local charity shops and a group of women as part of the project, memory boxes were created after conversations about ritual, 'curating' and loss.
Using gouache, ink and pencil this series of paintings is concerned with the importance of touch. Different knitted blankets (shown in the fifties family photographs) were used to maybe make recognition easier for identifying sleeping identical twin babies. They were made during the research project the artist ran training young doctors in visual literacy in the Dermatology Research Centre at The University of Manchester.
Oma Dreaming 2017 - present
A developing project exploring the connection between the desire to capture the 'spirit of the mass' in landscape and the nuances of feeling developing in the state of motherhood/grandmotherhood. The work sets out to create a visual language to celebrate new life, and threads of maternal experience.
Wednesday Notes 2014
The 'Wednesday Notes' installation was made up of painted ricepaper scrolls, and a series of monoprints centred on the repeated motifs made by women at a Bury care home. Enmeshed with motifs repeated from the artist's sketchbooks over 10 years, the installation bore witness to the working process of the interconnected relationships built up with the women at the care home. Together we created a 'Museum of Us' that led the way to the making of the pop up installation in Bury town centre.
Lace and Longing 2012
The Lace Archive at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) provided material for a piece of work that explored the link between post war Nottingham lace designers and the rich collection of textiles and portfolios at NTU. After working with ex students and staff a series of small gouache and watercolour paintings were made over a year, reflecting on the importance of textiles in touching deep memories, and the emotional potency of an archive.
A temporary installation of 180 laser prints 'Cornerworks' at The Chapman Gallery, University of Salford, was made by individually gluing each print to the gallery wall. After two weeks it was deliberately peeled off with water and steamer, recalling the destruction of memories after trauma or time . It was made after a forensic examination of a faded family album, where the dark corners and edges of interwar photographs are recoloured and reimagined to suggest profound absences and losses. The suggestion of wallpaper references the family business in Germany, and the Langhammer wallpaper collection in Chemnitz.
Made on the steps of the Bundestag, the flag dances to the simple tune of a Yiddish lullaby.
Images of a collection of antique glass are overlaid by a conversation with my mum about a piece of Bohemian glass that arrived as an engagement present in Nottingham from Chemnitz in 1953. 'From Bohemia' explores the way domestic objects are a rich source for myth making and are charged with an energy that feeds our imaginations. The piece also asks questions about how family histories are transmitted and about the malleability of memory.
Filmed at the train station Friedrichstrasse in Berlin 'Palace of Tears' explores how the present crosses over with the past. The piece suggests that memories are enmeshed in the fabric of the station that and we cannot escape from these, even after borders change, and the fabric of public buildings is renewed. These memories, present in windows tracks and walls, intersect with the voices of today’s travellers.
Touching on issues around memory, trauma and exile 'Her Tree' depicts the silent folding of a cloth embroidered by three generations of women, including my grammy, mum and sister. Originating in central Europe and embroidered at particular times in the women’s lives, such as during pregnancy or illness, the cloth has come to symbolise survival and celebration as well as separation and dispossession. 'Her Tree' marks the connections between women and the passing on of knowledge and culture between generations
Apfel Strudel 2002
This series of A6 photographs was made as a text for the cafe wall at Cornerhouse, Manchester. They formed part of an exhibition 'Conversations on the Subject of Feminism'. This piece is a celebration of a strong maternal bond; the sharing of stories during the peeling and wrapping of fruit.