In response to the 'Alchemy' brief that we set up for the second show for the Exhibition Collective, I decided to focus on how open water swimming can have such a huge positive effect on the mind.
Swimming has a huge role to play in managing my mental health - especially when the grind of London gets me down. I wanted to share these special places with others, to help them think about their own refuges they can find in their daily lives.
In 2014 we left our jobs and secure London lives to drive our 1971 Land Rover around the Mediterranean to experience and document everyday life in North Africa and the Middle East.
Our aim? To add a positive layer of information to the picture portrayed in the mainstream media, interweaving the stories of the people we met with our own.
Driving through sensational landscapes and vibrant cities we navigated noise, exhaustion, discomfort, searing heat and numerous breakdowns – and came across generosity and creativity in every place we went, making friends often in the most unexpected of circumstances.
Driving anti-clockwise around the Mediterranean from Suffolk back to Suffolk over 6 months.
Shifting Sands Exhibition 2015
The Shifting Sands Exhibiton in June 2015 was the culmination of almost 3 years work. Having returned from our trip we realised that we had a duty to come home and tell our positive stories in a rich and meaningful way.
We didn't want to just do a standard exhibition, we wanted to create an environment, a space in which we could invited people to come and share a free mint tea with us, a space where we could show them a glimpse of the incredible hospitality we received during the entirety of our trip.
The exhibition was part of the InTransit Festival organised by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and was nomadic, moving to three locations across the borough over 10 days.
Lucy and i slept out in the tent for the duration of the exhibition, allowing us to integrate with the local communities in each location we visited.
The conversations we had with the general public about our trip and positive experiences have been the highlight of the entire project so far.
As next steps, we are now looking at how to get our exhibition to schools across the country - and provide an intimate, nurturing space in which we can discuss topics ranging from self belief and motivation, inter-cultural relations and travel and adventure.
If you would like to find out more or have any contacts, please do get in touch with either Lucy or myself.
InTRANSIT and Shifting Sands 2015
Shifting Sands – Time Lapse
The Exhibition collective
Lizzie Lees, Rob Ellis and I co-founded the Exhibition Collective in 2012.
The Exhibition Collective provides affordable exhibition opportunities and support for emerging artists through workshops and collaborative events. We hope this will become an encouraging and inspirational forum that will not only offer a cost-effective platform for artists to exhibit their work but also generate a nurturing environment for creativity.
Each exhibition will have a theme. This is to create synergy between all the work exhibited and support the collaborative ethos behind the collective.
Collaborative workshops and group critiques will be held in the build-up to each exhibition, giving artists the opportunity to work together and cultivate the creative spirit.
All exhibition artwork will be for sale, including collaborative work created in the workshops (where feasible – sometimes the workshops are more about the collaborative process than the final results). Sales from individuals’ pieces go direct to the artist with no commission to the collective. Sales from the collaborative works will be given in part to charity, and to the collective.