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Residency Artists

Helen Acklam

23 August – 19 September 2023

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I began my current project, What it is to be There, in 2021, returning to Wales to explore my adolescent experiences of growing up in a mining valley in South Wales and the liminal space I occupy today as a mother without children.

This ongoing project has led to forensic and spiritual connections with the earth and a bodily engagement with matter that has enabled me to explore maternal and grief narratives.

I’ve used the Launderette as a retreat to spend a few weeks in the new space and feel what it’s like to be within the Stokes Croft community – it’s vibrant and welcoming and yet a really peaceful space to think about my work and up-coming opportunities.

With three exhibitions coming up, in Stroud (Gloucester), Barry and Pontyprydd (South Wales), I felt a bit overwhelmed by the amount going on. I wanted to place the work around me, in a clean space, and see where I was at. I’ve been using new materials and working at a different scale, so it was particularly good to use the three spaces within the Launderette to look at things in isolation and also put pieces together.

I’m collaborating with a film maker (Jameson White) for one of the pieces, so it’s also been particularly helpful to work together and separately both on site and in the space.

I arrived with many questions and, of course, I’m gathering new ones!

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