‘The first thing I did was to kiss the ground’ is a work in two parts: a sculpture and a sound-piece that will be sited close to one another right on the water’s edge. Its jumping off point is Gravesend’s rich and complex history of migration.
Resembling a Sikh head, the sculpture takes its inspiration from the decorative processional ‘Palki’ floats that feature in Sikh celebrations and represents, Kaur says, "a cognitive space … of these other ways of thinking, these other ways of knowing.” Its elements collide multiple points of reference to explore the cross-pollinations and nuances of diasporic experience through the fluidity of its aesthetics, allowing different symbolisms to overlap.
Sited off land on Gravesend pier, the sounds of the audio piece overlap with those of the Thames, its stories of the Saheli women can be listened to while moving with the water. Experiencing this you are immersed in a landscape where, Kaur says, “you feel the weight of its history. There is a small passenger ferry taking you across to Tilbury Dock, you can see the old Cruise Terminal building and the flag-post compete with Union Jack flag. So there are all these reminders, in amongst the industrial functioning landscape, of another time and place: when migration was welcomed and bound up with rehabilitating a post war Britain.”