The Lost Island
The Horsebridge Arts Centre
11 Horsebridge Road
19 July-31 July 2023
Have you ever been to a place where life moved a bit slowly, like you’ve stepped back in time?
I love places like this and I’ve found a few favourites over the years that I revisit often. Little old villages in the middle of nowhere, fishing harbours and cliff top walks. I love anywhere chalky, it reminds me of my childhood – we had a caravan that was nestled at the foot of the white cliffs of the South Downs. I had many adventures there with my buddies and many a plan was sketched out and illustrated using the chalk. Did you know that chalk is formed from the remains of tiny marine animals that lived and died in the seas that covered most of Britain millions of years ago? When they died, they fell to the bottom like a rain of fine white mud.
When I wander around fishing villages these days, I can almost hear the old tales of sea monsters, songs of fishermen falling under the spells of beautiful mermaids and the enchanted seductive Selkies – who I imagine are very unpredictable on shore due to their passion to be back at sea with their seal folk.
This exhibition is about a lost island, it’s a place that is well hidden out at sea – I imagine it cocooned behind impassable rocks.
I have some of my favourite characters on show here, the fisherman; he’s a man of calm quietness but with a formidable strength. The Selkie; she is a beguiling creature, untameable until her seal skin is hidden away and a brave and charming little brown dog who saves the day.
Time is not linear here, it flows back and forth like the tide, sometimes the characters are together and sometimes separated – not just by the sea but also by time.
I have recently made a children’s book to acompany this exhibition called The Long Voyage. It’s an adventure tale set on the island about the fisherman and the little brown dog becoming friends and saving each other.
I hope you enjoy looking around and thank you for coming.