Estuary Festival artworks staying for the summer
Close to Shoeburyness station
HELLO RETREAT by Katrina Palmer comprises of two related works. HELLO is located on East
Beach. It is a large emphatic concrete form based on a sound mirror part of an inter-war years pre-radar enemy aircraft early-warning system. The sign HELLO on the mirror’s dish subverts its original intention, transforming it from an object of defence to a sculptural message of welcome that faces out towards Europe. In response, RETREAT at Gunners Park is a web-based meditation on identity, accessed via a QR sign on the locked door of one of the old Powder Magazines in the landscape.
In The End Is The Beginning – Towards The Thames Estuary: an outdoor installation featuring a
triptych from artist, Nadav Kander’s on-going photographic series, Dark Line – The Thames Estuary
writ large on an abandoned jetty in the landscape it portrays at Shoeburyness. A static representation of the constants of the river placed at one of its most sparsely populated points, Kander’s images consider the passing of time and the rich histories of life, wealth, population and politics connected to the estuary.
An English Garden by Australian artist, Gabriella Hirst remains installed at Gunners Park. The work
is part of a longer term project call How to Make a Bomb and charts the artist’s attempts to propagate new specimens of the ‘Atom Bomb’ – a near-extinct species of garden rose, first registered in 1953. The garden and the accompanying text of the same name is intended to recognise the role of Essex in Britain’s nuclear colonial legacy, serving as a reminder that the red rose and the English garden are entangled with a violent past and dangerous present. The project is commissioned through a partnership between The Old Waterworks and Metal, with additional funding from Arts Council England Project Grants.
Sound Mirrors by artist duo Dot Dash (James Wilkes and Laurence Bradby) is a trail of sound
portraits specific to their locations at Southend’s Chalkwell Park, East Beach in Shoeburyness,
Wallasea Island, Jaywick Martello Tower, Naze Tower and Harwich Green. Accessed via QR codes hidden as geocaches at each point, the works are based on recorded community voices as they reflect on the personal relationship between locality, sound and emotion. The six geocaches form the Essex leg of the world’s first Art GeoTour, created as part of England’s Creative Coast.
Tremor at the Edge of Vision: a site-specific exploration of The Peregrine. Combining a walk with GPS located audio and 360-degree film, the work responds to JA Bakers seminal nature text The Peregrine and explores the Essex landscapes that Baker describes so viscerally within the book. The artwork is an APP downloadable from Apple or Android app stores and requires a VR headset to experience fully.
Close to Southend Central station
The large scale, original drawing of Adam Dant’s Thames Estuary Trail: An illustrated Map that
accompanies the special festival edition of Tom King’s book Thames Estuary Trail: A walk round the end of the world, can be seen throughout the summer on exhibition adjacent to the bar on the first floor at the Park Inn at Radisson Hotel in Southend.
Close to Chalkwell station
Waiting for Climate Change is an outdoor installation by Isaac Cordal sited in the estuary itself on Chalkwell Beach. The Spanish street artist has created a series of 15 characters, visible at low and high tide, readily equipped with mobile phones and diving equipment. Prepared for an emergency, the characters seem to absently look on as the water level rises and the tide comes in. In a challenge to our often-passive relationship with climate change, the work spark discussions around the climate emergency and the risk presented by rising sea levels.
The Water Replies was a participatory journaling and creative writing project with residents from
across the Thames Estuary who were invited to keep creative journals capturing life by the estuary with words and images since March 2020. Over 450 creative journals were sent out to estuary residents. A selection of those completed are on exhibition via window displays at Chalkwell Hall, with a full film archive hosted on the festival website.
The Storm Cone by Laura Daly with music by Lucy Pankhurst is an immersive audio and Augmented
Reality artwork for Chalkwell Park, Southend, that unearths lost bandstands and their buried past. The work will first guide you to the site where the Chalkwell bandstand once stood and here you will be immersed in a breath-taking 360˚ brass band performance.
Wat Tyler Country Park, near Pitsea Station
Harun Williams’ sound work, ‘7 windows and a door’ remains available via a QR code next to the pillbox in the landscape at Wat Tyler Country Park. Take your smart device and headphone to scan the QR code and listen within the defence structure.
On the brow of the hill overlooking Vange Creek, the Our Land planters – full of the strawberry
plants placed there by visitors to the festival as part of the work by Sonia Hughes, Jo Fong, Andrew Wrestle and Lisa Mattocks will stay. They are being looked after by the young people from Castleden School who will be keeping diaries and coming up with recipes.
The People of 1381 outdoor exhibition which charts the history and personalities of the rebels and the role of the Estuary in how the rebellion was planned and shaped remains on site in the heart of Wat Tyler on the Village Green.