I regularly go with my camera and note book to walk parts of the Pilgrim's Way. I'm trying to find an emotional connection to this ancient pathway, used by communities for thousands of years; that once encompassed the land bridge crossing the now English Channel, that was a route to Thomas Becket’s shine at Canterbury Cathedral, that now signifies ‘Olde England’. But I'm beginning to recognise I always leave feeling strangely empty, and wonder why.
I make the paintings from digital photographs, and objects I pick up on or around the path, fasten down on paper with wires, brackets and screws creating a stencil for spray paint.
This work is developing from ongoing conversations with my brother about the North Yorkshire village we grew up in. We've been thinking about the village ‘rituals’ such as the yearly ‘Village Feast’ as one of many pedagogical ‘encounters’ or events through which we learnt to think about ourselves as ‘local’, identifying ourselves as part of a unique set of people. This is leading us to think about why some belonged and others didn’t.
A recent visit with friends and family to a wood near where I grew up, prompted a conversation about how comfortable we would feel walking in the Yorkshire countryside on our own. It was clear that most felt they wouldn’t do it. This is the starting point of work that looks to understand the ‘barriers’ around the wood, who can pass and who can’t. The sound element is been developed by Ben Grant