My Family and Other Memories

sculpture consisting of 18 cardboard boxes exhibited at Henry Moore Foundation Hertfordshire
My Family and Other Memories exhibited at The Henry Moore Foundation

It finally happened, after months of preparation, thinking and making my sculpture was finally installed at the The Henry Moore Foundation in Hertfordshire. My Family and Other Memories was exhibited alongside work by other students on the BA Fine Art degree course and Fashion and Textiles students from The Colchester School of Art at University Centre Colchester. All of the work was made in response to this year’s theme at the Foundation which is Vitality and to the site at Perry Green which was the artist’s home and place of work.

The exhibition took place in The Sheep Barn, which as you can see from the image below was a huge space to fill, especially as there were only 8 artists taking part.

image of empty sheep barn at Henry Moore Foundation Hertfordshire
The Sheep Barn on the day of the installation

The installation turned out to be very challenging as one artist fell off their horse a few days before the exhibition, broke their elbow and had concussion, another artist ended up in hospital and missed the exhibition all together, although we were able to install their work for them. Everyone worked together and we were supported by our tutors and staff from the Foundation. I think the final exhibition looked really good, our final year’s degree show has a lot to live up to!

The exhibition in The Sheep Barn.

One of my aims for this work was to encourage visitors to interact with the work by handling and re-arranging the boxes. After a little encouragement they were very keen to do this on the whole.

sculpture of cardboard boxes re-arranged at Henry Moore Foundation Hertfordshire
My Family and Other Memories re-arranged

The sculpture is called My Family and Other Memories, it is a celebration of my family and an exploration of my own identity. I am interested in how moments from our past, present and future connect and make us who we are.

cardboard sculpture rearranged at Henry Moore Foundation Hertfordshire
My Family and Other Memories re-arranged

I received some very useful feedback on the work from visitors and HMF staff, here are some of my favourite comments: ‘My Grandfather used to work in the docks’, ‘viewers seemed to pay close attention to My Family… i.e. paying close attention to the words and images’, ‘so playful’, ‘I definitely relate to it’, ‘it’s nostalgic’, ‘reminds me of games I used to play, folding up paper game and hopscotch’, ‘people are quite nervous to play with it, except the children, then once they start…’, ‘you need to get up close to it’, ‘it’s very family orientated’, ‘I like the images, the map, the collage’, ‘I really love playing with this’,

One visitor came to see the project after his wife recommended it, she was really impressed by the display. When I suggested he could interact with and move the boxes to change the dynamic of the family and memories work he replied “there’s already enough interference in families, I’m not a social worker, I think I will leave them be”.

a visitor enjoying my sculpture at Henry Moore Foundation Hertfordshire
A visitor enjoying playing with the sculpture

I learnt a lot from doing this exhibition, how to create something that develops my practice and also responds to a specific brief. I also learnt about the importance of planning and testing, the hardest thing was knowing how long things would take, I really underestimated the amount of time I would need. I think working on an extended project suits me and I hope to get another opportunity to do something similar in the near future.

What do you think of my ideas? I’d love to know, please get in touch and share your thoughts.

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