Through documentaries such as ‘Planet Earth’ David Attenborough and others have narrated our world, leading us through the eyes into fantastical worlds and cultures drenched in colour. But does this reflect the actual reality of these worlds and of the communities there? And where are the worlds and communities that we don’t see, invisible in plain sight? Christina Peake sought to find out if the visual mythology of nature would match the reality by fulfilling a childhood dream of travelling to the Peruvian Amazon and living with the indigenous communities such as the Kukama that call this home. Christina also spent a year working with the charity ‘Women at the Well’ in Kings Cross, an area she travelled through regularly for work, supporting women surviving the most challenging circumstances.
During the residency in Peru Christina documented her time with the Kukama, Boras and Yagua tribes, Amazon riverways and rainforest from the small village of Santo Tomas, Iquitos to Machu Picchu, Cusco and Lima engaging history, cultures and cosmologies through photography, film, visual and written journals in addition to sourcing from historical accounts such as J.W Beul’s ‘Sea and Land - An Illustrated history of the Wonderful and Curious things of Nature Existing before and after the Deluge’, (1887) that describe encounters with ‘Amazons’ and Victorian colonial exploration. Using this fieldwork Christina has literally used the ‘eye’ (the artist’s retinal eye scans) to frame this contemporary travelogue using digital and mixed media.
Due to safeguarding measures to protect the women at the WATW charity Christina’s journals cannot be directly referenced therefore she has created four sculptures reflecting the key themes of the stories the women were kind enough to share and her own, plus referencing cultural objects from the Inca to African gold weights creating her own version of a set of cultural artifacts in response to this community, using an array of materials from Burr Oak, plasticine and resin to gold leaf and wire, pearls and semi-precious gemstones.
Christina Peake is visual artist who has exhibited in the UK and internationally that places autobiography, community and environmental engagement at the heart of her practice. This has led her to working with a variety of cultural organisations and charities such as Only Connect, a criminal justice charity working with ex-offenders and young people to Way Out Arts NGO based in Sierra Leone working with young people in the slums of Freetown, ex child soldiers and gang members. Her artist’s book ‘PREDATION’ that the Peru based work is sourced from with be available in Autumn 2019.
Artist Talk: 25th August 2019 at 3.30pm
Insta. Chrisillena +44 (0) 7909145 741