Arripare, 2013

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‘Arripare’ by Gayle Chong Kwan was a large-scale photographic work of a mythical island – an alternative version of Stockton and the surrounding areas – seemingly hovering between arrival and appearance or departure or disappearance.

Combining complex multiple techniques of documentary photography, collage and sculptural construction, the island is rooted in the context and history of its location and the river which runs alongside it, and yet enveloped in mist, the island could be located in the past, present or future, sighted in the midst of a vast ocean or be hovering somewhere in the clouds.

Chong Kwan’s island takes its title from the origin of a word rooted in the sea – ‘arrive’ – from its vernacular Latin root ‘arripare’ meaning ‘to touch the shore’, and references Captain Cook’s epic voyages on the Endeavour, the area’s industrial and historical relationship with the sea, and its international connections.

Chong Kwan developed ‘Arripare’ through a period of engagement with local residents and research in historic Stockton, Thornaby, Norton and Yarm, the industrial landscapes of Seal Sands, newer developments such as Billingham and Ingleby Barwick, and other locations along the river.

Chong Kwan commented: ‘I was thrilled to be invited to be the first artist to exhibit as part of REFOCUS and delighted to have had the opportunity to respond to such a fascinating and inspiring area, to create a work on such an ambitious scale and prominent site, and to bring photography beyond the gallery into the public realm.’

A limited-edition print can be ordered from mima (01642 726 720), priced at £550.

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