Projects – Over my Left Shoulder, 2017

Over my Left Shoulder came about as a commission from Lincs Inspire Cultural Services in North East Lincolnshire. I was one of four artists invited to access the Hallgarth Collection in the North East Lincolnshire Archives and make a creative response.

The Hallgarth Collection is an archive of photographs collected by one man who cycled around Lincolnshire between the 1950s – 1970s asking people to donate photographs. There are some 17000 images in the collection, many of which do not provide any information about what is in the image, where it came from, or the year the image was taken.  Perhaps frustrating to an archivist, but interesting and mysterious for a visual artist to respond to.

I chose to select images of unknown women, probably ranging between the late 1800s and mid-1930s. Reproducing the photographs digitally, I painted out the backgrounds in white oil paint – sometimes I painted out the women and left the location – thinking here about discussions arising from the history of painting and the rise of the photographic image. Some of these I placed in location around the city of Lincoln, and photographed. The eventual body of work became an installation of the images, connected to each other and an outline map of Lincolnshire using fine crochet thread.

The title is extracted from a line in the Lincolnshire folk song, Brigg Fair.