10 Days and Nights - 10 suspended perspex lenses with back-projected video

The drowned woman is a familiar nineteenth century visual/literary trope, with a number of these works focusing on The River Thames as the location for the scene of tragedy; George Frederic Watts painting Found Drowned, Thomas Hood’s poem The Bridge of Sighs, and prints created for George Cruickshank’s book," The drunkards children". Works that depict The Drowned Woman are heavily romanticised visions of fantasy, with their all-to-familiar tragic subjects; youthful, beautiful, heavy with the symbolism of the “fallen” woman.

 

I was drawn to consider and uncover the real-life events that might have driven real women of the period to end their lives in this way. 10 Days and Nights has developed through research into both nineteenth century artistic responses, and journalistic writings featuring Thameside suicides.

 

Newspaper articles covering attempted and actual suicides of the era highlight a wide range of personal and societal motivations including poverty, loneliness, alcohol abuse and prostitution. 10 Days and Nights seeks to bring a more personal voice to The Drowned Women, uncovering their stories and unveiling “ghosts” lost to time and lost to the Thames.

This work was specially created for the exhibition Ghost Tide, Thameside Studio Gallery 2018.