SUNDAYS, 6TH OCTOBER - 1ST DECEMBER 2019
Digital Art Installation
'As The Crow Flies'
Art Installation exploring the lives of some of the casualties of the East India Company.
We invite you to join us at the historic Severndroog Castle, which stands amidst ancient woodland, to enjoy uninterrupted views of London and its surrounding counties and experience this emotive, historical digital art installation.
From Sunday 6th October, Severndroog Castle will be host to the 'As The Crow Flies' installation every Sunday until the 1st December 2019, which will be free to access with the usual Admission Ticket to Severndroog Castle.
About the Exhibition
As the Crow Files a digital art exhibition following the stories of real and imagined historical people and their experiences of the East India Company in the 19th Century.
There are 3 films on display and each explore a different story; the first is the tale of Emily Jane, an imagined character who represents the experiences of hundreds of young women who sailed to India to find suitable husbands among the employees of the East India Company, many of whom later died. The second is Lakshmi Bai, a heroin who fought against the East India Company during the Indian Uprising. Lastly, the story of two brothers Edward and William Connor from a Ragged School apprenticed to the East India Company.
All the lives explored in the installation are in someway casualties of the East India Company, lives cut short by its policies and actions.
The Films were created out of archival research and are an artist’s interpretation of real past experiences. The films are a mixture of images, film, text, quotes and sound. The films are projected onto a screen and reflected through glass onto hanging silk. This type of projection is used to signify that history can be interpreted in many different ways.
The Marine Society also selected poor boys from Ragged Schools to be apprenticed to the Company and this part is based around the handwritten letters from 2 brothers, Edward and William Connor, which were found in the archives of the Ware Family of Tilford. The fragments of text are overlaid on film shot on location in Bombay/Mumbai and the short sea journey to Elephanta Island. The writings give an indication of what life was like for the apprentices who suffered from prickly heat, were engaged in skirmishes in ‘outlandish’ places at a time when many boys deserted for merchant ships. This was also a key historical moment when the old Indian Navy was about to be abolished as the rule of the East India Company was replaced by the Raj. While the brothers sailed on different ships they finally met on the ship where Edward Wortley was serving and William died in his brother’s arms of the ‘brain fever’.
During the Indian Uprising of 1857/8 the British sought to annexe Jhansi as they refused to recognise the adoptive son of Lakshmi Bai as a legitimate heir. She led an army against them and became a heroine of resistance before her death. This piece uses short sequences from the 1953 film, Jhansi ki Rani by Sohrab Modi, located in the film archive in Pune. This is overlaid on material shot on location in the Lukshmi Vilas palace in Vadodara, Gujarat and in Mumbai and Mahabaleshwar. The aim is not to create historical authenticity but to explore some elements of myth making. The processional wedding music recorded on location in Mumbai adds a slightly disjunctive element tothe recreated filmic scenes of uprising.
This piece depicts the haunting nature of overlapping cultural landscapes during the time of the East India Company and later the Raj. It uses a fictional figure derived from a19th century painting in the art gallery in Chhatrapati Shivaju Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai to reflect the young 18th and 19th English women who are memorialised on tombstones outside the cathedral in Bombay/Mumbai. The woman drifts ghost-like through the museum and the 19th century Baroda Museum and Art Gallery, based on a European model full of vitrines and classical statues. She appears in the ancient temple in Mahabaleshwar and the English Church, which co-exists there. During the 19th century she might also represent one of the “Fishing Fleet’, young women who sailed speculatively to India to find suitable husbands among the employees of the East India Company and later Raj.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jini Rawlings is a mixed media and video installation artist. She uses projections and materials including glass and silk to suggest the multi layering of memory and meaning, creating poetic responses to stories found in original archives. She traces journeys of migration and exploration and films on locations found through initial research.
She has exhibited widely and was the first artist in residence in the archives of the National Maritime Museum in 2005-6, her installations Mariners and Migrant ; in Search of Home were exhibited as part of the travelling exhibition Life at Sea. She was selected for a solo show, Land/Seascapes of Memory, at Duff House, National Gallery of Scotland in 2009 and a solo summer show, WAVE/ING, at the Aberdeen Maritime Museum in 2012. She was the selected British artist for the cross-border residency Ici et La in 2013, making new installations in Hastings and Dunkerque and was commissioned for Unravelling the National Trust in 2014, creating site specific work for Uppark House.
In 2018 she completed her Phd by Published work, Dis-Locations and Broken Narratives, which situated her work in relation to her experiences as a late discovered adoptee. Her installation Dear Child, inspired by the familial letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, was shown in Hy-phen, an Exposition between Art and Research at Ambika P3 Gallery in June 2019.
Art Installation held inside Severndroog Castle, Castle Wood, Shooters Hill, London SE18 3RT
Entry available every Sunday from 6th October 2019 until 1st December 2019
Opening hours are:
6th to 20th October, 10.30am - 4.30pm
27th October to 1st December, 10.30am - 3.30pm
Free access to this Exhibition is granted with our usual Admission Ticket to Severndroog Castle.
Information on how to find us is below.
Free parking facilities available at The Castle Wood Car Park.