Garage Residency Artists

Passing: Group Residency

3rd – 10th April 2022


The residency was about developing work and ideas taken forward from work originally generated for a group show at Create Bristol: The Line of Least Resistance 20th September – 1st October 2021.

The group members are:

Helen Acklam, Anwyl Cooper-Willis, Tommy Cha, Bernard Fairhurst, Peter Lyons, James Vassallo.

There was a prior agreement to use ‘Passing’ as a focus of attention for the residency as a natural extension of ‘The Line of Least Resistance’. The overarching philosophy of The Garage was used as a guiding framework, to use the time to get together, share ideas and make new work.

Given the nature of these complex times and Covid infection, access and attendance was varied across the week. There were various times for gatherings during the week and a full collective meeting on the final day. There were lots of time for fulling immersive conversation and new work was produced.


Helen Acklam

Words in action – I wanted to use the time, and the familiarity of the group, to talk about the work whilst making new work in the space.  Having spent a week together at the end of last year, I knew that I would feel comfortable to tease out words and find ways of talking about a very personal project.  I appreciated the different qualities of the space and the conversations as different people came in and out.  Sometimes the space felt very intimate and safe, sometimes light and social, sometimes challenging and confusing. That in turn affected how people interacted with the work and the story.  I learnt a lot..



I was looking forward to having dedicated and uninterrupted time. Time to talk about work with people addressing the same subject material in their own personal ways. Time to check my own physical and mental capacity to apply myself fully for a week. Time to make new work in a shared space and hoping for a dynamic, energised and uninhibited approach. Thankfully the experience was successful in each of these terms.


Anwyl:  Helping Hands

Engaging with Helen and the Garage has been very positive. After a talk with Helen about her work, in Feb, I came home and did a drawing on a scrap of paper; an image of hands reaching out from the abdomen of a figure. Then we started the box… I received it after some people had added to it. Tommy’s Dymo label, a script from 1970 or so, on the ideals of true masculinity immediately invited a response. The drawing was fitted with a script on ‘the narrative of the feminine’ which could be pulled out of the figure’s middle (it didn’t work very well). The initial idea was a joke, but once fitted together it clearly was not,  it having become clear this figure was the female.

An opportunity arose to spend an afternoon at the Garage, and the drawing became large.

Over time and thought addition of text seemed appropriate. The text reads:

The narrative of the feminine is one of joyous sacrifice Helping hands reach out to nurture and to succour. As the bride serves her lord who rules with wisdom and knowledge So the people are the bride of their parliament.

The abject female is invited to co spill her guts for humanity, but the brain is not required, just as ‘the people’ are invited to put their shoulders to the wheel and leave the governing to wiser guides…