New chapter in artwork at Felixstowe

WOMEN who stood on the ramparts of a fort for an innovative piece of live public artwork returned to see the outcome and the next stage in the project.

WOMEN who stood on the ramparts of a fort for an innovative piece of live public artwork returned to see the outcome and the next stage in the project.

More than 120 women dressed in black and wearing masks climbed onto Landguard Fort's roof at Felixstowe on a bitingly cold day last winter for the photographic session.

Now the photos of that day, along with video footage, stop-frame animation, and some other thought-provoking pieces of art have been drawn together for an exhibition called Kiss It Better.

Women who took part attended the launch of the exhibition - which runs at the fort until May 24 - and had fun spotting themselves in the images.

Artist Carol Gant and graphic designer Mark Mathewson have been working on the project, which explores the theme of safety and control in the 21st century from male and female perspectives.

The idea came from the story of a Portuguese woman accused of stealing a silk handkerchief who committed suicide after her husband was wrongly court martialled and put before the firing squad.

Most Read

The incident happened in 1757 and the woman's ghost is still said to haunt the fort.

“It is a tale of injustice which is full of tension and conflict,” said Mrs Gant.

“Individual boundaries were challenged with the result being a man wrongly executed and his wife throwing herself off the roof of the fort.

“The juxtaposition of the women standing atop of the fort and the strong values and masculinity of the building made this a dramatic piece of public art.

“The exhibition seeks to document the experience of that day and develops on the theme through representations of further pieces of performance art at the fort.”

She said the reactions of the women who took part were very interesting.

Many felt anonymous, depersonalised and disorientated wearing the masks, others felt a bonding together, a proud feeling of sisterhood standing together.

They were also asked about their fears - some using the experience to overcome a fear of heights, but others expressing more poignant worries about their children, health and personal problems.

The fort is becoming a vibrant centre for arts - with its many rooms and courtyard providing the perfect setting for a variety of events.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend 20 artists exhibited and their work was greatly enjoyed.

Later this month there will be an exhibition of art and sculpture called Weather and Root, and in July a theatre production called Where Soldiers Sleep.

Is the fort a good place for art? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk