As a commissioned artist I will be making a site responsive work in one of the cells in the B-wing of Shepton Mallet Prison in Somerset.
B-Wing is a multi-disciplinary ACE-funded arts project set in the unique spaces of B-Wing, Shepton Mallet Prison. Site-responsive artworks, texts and performances will be created by artists and writers for an exhibition during Somerset Art Weeks Festival, 21 September-6 October 2019.
Visual arts, performance & poetry will transform B-Wing, reflecting its history, & confronting political & environmental issues. Curated by Fiona Campbell & Luminara Star, the project targets a wide range of art & non-art audiences. It will specifically engage artists, writers, and the local community of all ages through workshops, talks, readings and exciting special events. Local school groups and adult community have taken part in two collaborative artworks. We aim to attract a great many visitors locally and from further afield, who will have the opportunity to explore the prison and our event at reduced rates.
Shepton Prison is infamous, yet remains hidden behind 75ft high walls, inaccessible to the public until recently. The oldest working prison in UK until closure in 2013, it now stands vacant. B-Wing’s evocative spaces, full of dark histories, summon powerful responses. Light through windows & bars casts dramatic shadows; strong acoustics conjure imaginings of its past. For visitors it will be an immersive, poignant experience. There will be a sense of wonder & curiosity as each person makes their own way through the labyrinth of cells & corridors, discovering unpredictable interventions in astonishing deserted spaces. Appealing to different interests, B-Wing will provoke thought & debate around art, local history, socio politics, environment, personal stories.