This series of work is based on the Thames river in London with its dark murky waters, and the city’s history of freak shows and cabinets of curiosity displays.
A Jenny Haniver is the manipulation of a ray or a skate, resulting in a specimen intended to resemble a fictional creature. These, alongside fake mermaids and other curious artefacts were exhibited and sold in London as real creatures, which fuelled the imagination of visitors.
A series of paintings and sculptures made out of seaweed were produced based on the research of Jenny Haniver specimens from the London Natural History Museum collection. The use of seaweed referred to their watery worlds and their connection to the river, an important trade vehicle in the past, bringing in cultural influx from distant shores to London.
Several weeks were spent drawing on the banks of the Thames river, looking at the water itself and its form and life, as well as the materiality of its shores, the stones, the algae growing on its walls and its flies. This regular drawing practice became important to physically make a connection with the river. A recognition of its waters harbouring many lives emerged, even through its stones, all individually emanating their own personality.
In this project the jenny hanivers in a way personified the river, watery lives and hybrids of cultural entanglement, born from its muddy banks.
These works have been exhibited in The Three Stags (London, Uk) and Space Station 65 gallery (London, UK)