Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Mighty Scheme - Graham Fagen

A couple of weeks ago (12 June) I went to a live performance by Ghetto Priest and Adrian Sherwood at Dilston Grove in Southwark Park.  The event was part of the 'The Mighty Scheme' exhibition by the Scottish artist Graham Fagen, taking place at Dilston Grove and at the nearby CGP gallery in the park.

I went back today to check out the exhibition in full. Its centrepiece is a four screen film and video installation 'The Slave's Lament', featuring Ghetto Priest singing Robert Burns' anti-slavery song of that name accompanied by strings. In the dark, cool space of the ex-church it is beautiful and mesmerising. 

The only other object in the church is a haunting rope tree, with its echoes of lynchings. Fagen is interested in the relationship between Caribbean history and Scottish identity. Burns, central to the latter, not only wrote about slavery but planned at one point to move to Jamaica. Ironically if he had succeeded it would probably have been to work on a slave plantation. He couldn't afford to make the trip, and then found success as a poet which made his escape from a precarious financial position in Scotland unnecessary.

Outside is one of Fagen's neon works 'Come into the Garden and forget about the war', while there is a series of connected work in the CGP gallery just across the grass. 

Tomorrow - Sunday 26th June - is your last chance to see this exhibition - both galleries are open from 11 am to 5 pm, admission free.

Natural Anarchy - Graham Fagen

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