Global award for Somerset artist

SOMERSET artist Fiona Campbell from West Cranmore has won a global arts award from Red Line Art Works, a UK-based arts project, which recognises art works dealing with major global concerns, such as the climate and ecological emergency, inequality, poverty and bad leadership.

Artworks from around 45 countries can be seen on the Red Line Art Works website. Fiona’s award was made for her series Snakes and Ladders, and Glut and Accretion.

Curator Chris Greenwood says: “Her brilliant series of artworks say important things which are relevant to everyone on the planet.”

The timing, so close to Earth Day, and in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, had a strong resonance for the artist. She says: “The news has been such a wonderful lift at this testing time. It was very novel to receive my bronze trophy in the post!”

Snakes and Ladders was created as site-responsive work for B-Wing, an Arts Council-funded project Fiona co-curated in Shepton Mallet Prison in 2019, which involved eight artists and writers and a programme of community events.

Interacting with the massive space, hand-crafted rickety ladders, from 4-7 metres long, spanned three floors. Made from found wood and paper – text evidence of our consumerist world – they appeared dreamlike. Pieces suspended from the ceiling suggested flight or extinct animals in museums, while contrasting soft sculptural entrail forms dangled from ladders.

“Ladders represent imaginary stairways of spiritual ascension and escape,” says Fiona. “Snakes and Ladders alludes to the human cycle of striving, greed, suffering, hope. I was inspired by Piranesi’s The Imaginary Prisons series.”

The series Glut was scheduled to be shown at Grizedale Sculpture, but this was halted by Covid19. Fiona says it has a relevance to the epidemic, “a result of cruel incarceration and trading of wildlife as meat.” She describes the work as “a wailing, related to my increasing concerns about environmental issues – human imposition on nature, consumerism, waste, our plastic oceans, factory farming, mass extinctions. And the loss of my dog.  Bodily forms made from found and recycled materials suggest entrails, abject yet seductive.”

Pictured: Snakes and Ladders (detail), photograph by Caroline Bond; Glut (detail), photograph by Mike Garlick.