Gayle Chong Kwan

Journal Entries



I have been researching the varied landscapes around Stockton-on-tees, from the vast industrial and chemical landscapes of Seal Sands, to the stalls at the weekly market in the centre of Stockton-on-Tees, the replica of the historic Endeavour, and running workshops with local community groups. This research led to the development of 'Arripare' (2013), a 40 metre long photographic installation, commissioned for the Refocus: The Castlegate mima Photography Prize, the first award for photography in the public realm, which I was delighted to be awarded. Following a period of local historical research and engagement with local residents, I created 'Arripare', a mythical island - an alternative version of Stockton and the surrounding areas - seemingly hovering between arrival and appearance or departure and 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. My 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.