Pieces of My People is a sculpture composed of 20 pieces and made a debut showcase in an exhibition called ‘Play and The Post Peak’, which was part of The Factory Project. The Factory Project is an independent museum-scale exhibition that took place during London’s Frieze week.
Isamu Noguchi highlights the paradoxical nature of clay when he says ‘The attraction of ceramics lies partly in its contradictions. It is both difficult and easy, with an element beyond our control. It is both extremely fragile and durable’. This vulnerability and temperament of clay is also where elements of intimacy start to grow.
Noguchi’s elaboration on ceramics follows my research into sculpture by El Anatsui, particularly his Broken Pots series (1997). The series is based on the idea that fragments of a sculpture, or pieces of history are equally as powerful as complete work. ‘It leaks as we struggle to mend it’ is what he says in an interview as he elaborates on the underlying optimism based on the clay’s capacity to reuse. Anatsui has said that when a pot breaks ‘It is not the end of its useful life’. The breakage was above all ‘a condition for new growth’. Working with clay in fragments is the basis of this sculpture, in the hopes that the separation of these 20 pieces, in contrast, signify the collection of love and care I wish to honour in my life. Each piece of this sculpture is an embellished mould of body parts from some friends and family. It is the part of their body I touch the most in our interactions and exchanges.
How the pieces fit together in the installation process is through playing with the arrangements intuitively, the overall form is not predetermined.