Dear Child―One of the Mothers I Never Had

Dear Child―One of the Mothers I Never Had

BA Fine Art alumna Jini Rawlings is currently exhibiting work as part of Between Here and Then at the London Gallery West and LGW Project Space, Harrow, until 6 July.

Responding to the current global political malaise, this exhibition by 19 artists ranges from overt political commentaries on migration, marginalisation and colonial histories to reflexive fictions about notions of home, family and self. Jini’s work takes the form of a three channel video installation, Dear Child―One of the Mothers I Never Had.

The project is the result of work undertaken by practice-led PhD researchers from the doctoral Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) at the University of Westminster.

Jini Rawlings graduated with a BA Fine Art from the University of Leeds and has since followed a career as an artist, lecturer and film maker. She is currently undertaking a PhD by practice at the University of Westminster. Jini talks here about her work since studying at Leeds, her current PhD research and her latest video installation for Between Here and Then:

“I have been lecturing on the Contemporary Media Practice course in the School of Media Art and Design at the University of Westminster over a number of years after earlier work in the independent sector of film and video.

“I was the first Artist in Residence at the National Maritime Museum and became a Winston Churchill Fellow in 2005. My installation Mariners and Migrants formed the introduction to the Life at Sea travelling exhibition.

“In 2012 I had a solo show ― WAVE/ING ― in a number of the galleries at the Aberdeen Maritime Museum. I have shown in national and Scottish National trust locations including Unravelling the National Trust at Uppark House in 2014. I have presented work as an artist at conferences and was invited to talk at the V&A Museum of childhood international conference On Their Own: Britain’s Child Migrants in 2016.

“Since the late 1990s, I have produced a body of work which has both conceptually and materially been inflected by my late discovery of adoption. All the installations have been based on extensive archival and location research which built on my own methodologies for researching my own birth and familial history. While each work is discrete and addresses different areas of history and contemporary re-articulation, there are themes and processes which link them.

“Undertaking a PhD is providing an opportunity to critically situate my practice and produce something that will add to existing knowledge about the creative/transformative responses to trauma.

“My practice-based PhD research focuses on video and mixed media installations produced and exhibited over a number of years which, in a variety of ways and materials (including etched glass and printed silk), reflects the experiential effects of late discovered adoption.

“Subjects of my work range from child migrants sent to Canada in the late 19th century (‘Lost Sight of ‘); the trawler captain who sailed treacherous waters to Iceland during the second world war; nineteenth century feminists Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon and Bessie Rayner Parkes, and artist /muse Lizzie Siddal; Lady Emma Hamilton; and, most recently, Lady Mary Wortley.

“Lady Mary Wortley was a writer, traveller, part of the Beau Monde, semi abandoned/abandoning mother and in solitary exile in Europe. The three channel video and mixed media piece in this current exhibition in Harrow, Dear Child―One of the Mothers I Never Had, was inspired by Lady Wortley’s familial letters and uses a dancer to explore the roles of Mother, Performer and Exile. The three videos in this work are projected onto nine parallel semi transparent printed silk hangings, allowing the audience to move through them and see the images from a number of angles.”