Ancestral Armour (2021) Horse Brass, Black Leather, Brass Fixings, Brass Ornaments
Commissioned by Legion Projects for the touring exhibition 'Waking The Witch' (2019-2021)
Oriel Davies Gallery, Wales / 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe / Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury / Bonington Gallery, Nottingham
'Ancestral Armour' is made from black leather, brass fixings and 72 Horse Brass; Ornamental buckles that adorn working horses. The inherited and sourced Horse Brass have been arranged to symbolically map the details of my astrological birth-chart; a planetary portrait of the solar system on the day I was born. Through my work as an artist and astrologer my research of ancestry is nested within a larger astrological metaphysics that I express through my creative and magical practice. Ancestral Armour traces my lineage through my family, their folk practices, symbols and vocations and up into the mirrored dance of the stars that both precede and proceed them.
'Ancestral Armour' is an act of ancestral veneration in homage to the generations of my family of travellers who have been horse traders, undertakers and master craftsmen of travelling caravans. Ancestral Armour was made to be worn each August whilst foraging for mushrooms in the forests and fields of Northumberland; communing with the Fae; enacting an animistic expansion of kith and kin beyond the borders of our species, blooming out in right relation to our more-than-human world. The belt was adorned exclusively with Pixys, Pixies and Piskies attributed to Devon, Dartmoor and Cornwall, which unbeknownst to me at the time, presciently predicted an as then unimagined move to Devon that I made in 2022.
For me Ancestry holds deep sympathies to the world of Fungi; we each an individual, a fruiting body that arrives as an event inside space time, that is connected to a web of disembodied memory, experience and DNA. Making 'Ancestral Armour' was a way for me to embody something of the inactive heritage that my ancestors once animated, and whose ability to navigate by the stars, awoke again in me, through my study of astrology.