Rooted in Photography, my art practice is process led and deals with material culture, also incorporating elements of sculpture, performance, collecting and anthropology.
In 2016, on a self-funded research trip to Guadalajara, Mexico, I discovered a significant amount of clothing that was related to a current socio-political issue of transit migration via train routes. It was a topic that naturally engaged with my practice regarding the use of space and articles of clothing, while simultaneously provoking a new direction in my work.
Preliminary research images:
Two train tracks run through the city, the freight trains that run on these lines are referred to as El tren de los desconocidos (The train of the unknowns). Also known as El tren de la muerte (The Death Train) and La Bestia (The Beast), these trains are boarded mainly by Central American migrants who are attempting to traverse the length of Mexico, in the hope of illegally entering the United States to find work. It is estimated that every year between 400,000 and 500,000 transit migrants board the trains attempting to reach the U.S.
The train tracks, the proximity of the clothing left there and the socio-economic reasons that the transit migrants are forced to navigate the space are all highly relevant to my Them series. I am fascinated by how people use space, particularly in ways that push the boundaries of our understanding of such spaces. My practice investigates and reflects these transient, liminal spaces. Them is not concerned with recording the individual person in a detailed specific way, rather it takes an interest in the individual as part of a group, a mass, unknown and undefined. In Mexico the migrants are both marginalised and victimised; incidents of rape, murder and kidnapping have been regularly recorded. Furthermore, they are constantly under pressure while in Mexico to keep moving, to remain transient. In this sense, my practice is a form of social anthropology of material culture; the recording of people and shared experiences via belongings, an examination of the relationship between people and things.