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Work and ideas from my two months at PADA Art Residency 42 in Barriero, PT, 2023 

Planeta Ostra

The CUF, once the centre of industry in Portugal, is now a mostly dilapidated wasteland. Planeta Ostra is nestled within one of its many crumbling structures and is accessible to touch via a small set of intact stairs. The sphere levitates inches above the top of the steps, like a halo or a spaceship ready to take off.


On a personal level, this piece reflects my own transformation from fragmentation to wholeness.  A few years ago, like the oyster shells, I was living in a sort of limbo: either the waves would drag me from the shore into the underworld, or I would fill a suitcase with the scattered shells of my former self, and start rebuilding. 


Like the process of healing, the creation of the sphere was long and arduous.  But the result is a new thing that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Positioned between two disintegrating pillars, the spherical form attempts to push beyond the old beliefs and structures that broke it. Whilst not completely free of them, it is no longer defined by them. It takes up space and holds its own, a light in the darkness of a wasteland.

In a macro context, the sphere is a blueprint for a new planet in which circularity replaces linearity, abundance replaces lack, and regeneration replaces consumerism.

Oyster shells, making twenty billion eggs per mating season, represent fertility and abundance. The shells of this sculpture were at one point farmed for human pleasure: eaten as aphrodisiacs or commodified for pearls, before being dumped on the shore. Like many expressions of the feminine existing in a productivity-centred world, these shells were exploited then discarded.

Oyster shells are also hermaphrodites, making Planeta Ostra a fitting precedent for a future in which the feminine, the masculine, and everything in between is valued innately. In which binaries, such as masculine and feminine, linear and circular, visible and invisible, past and present, coexist without conflict.

Planeta Ostra (Performance)

Work in group show This is not a toxic field

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