The opening of this latest exhibition took place on May 3rd, attracting a number of visitors many of whom had followed the journey of the cart through the streets of Preston the Sunday previously and who had come to see it in situ along with the rest of the show. Many visitors had not been to our venue before however and that is always encouraging when we meet new people and get to show them around.
The cart of course, was the star of the show and looked fantastic – it had been secured in the loading bay area and looked magnificent. The new rails alongside the loading bay enabled visitors to peer inside the cart and see all of the ‘stuff’ Susan had packed into it ready for her journey. Other visitors went down the steps into the bay to have a closer look at the cart itself, the wheels and the delightful but poignant signage, painted by artist Lubaina Himid as part of a collaboration. After Lauretta Rapley’s tapestry horse which was suspended in the loading bay for the last show, and Susan’s cart parked here for this one, the loading bay is fast becoming a sought-after spot for exhibiting at Oxheys.
Inside the project space area, a series of six photographic prints illustrated the key stages of the cart’s journey through Preston, depicting the awful weather and the struggle the guys who pulled the cart had in places. Seeing them queueing in traffic along the route, making running repairs and looking like drowned rats provides some entertainment. A slideshow on a screen shows photographic stills documenting the entire journey and the impact of the bad weather on that day, capturing moments along the way and showing a variety of emotions. These photographs, along with another series of prints showing a more abstract view of events, are by Denise Swanson, also part of the collaboration.
On another screen, a short documentary film by Susan illustrated the use of carts by people in transit from various times in history and from different cultures and parts of the world. This is a fascinating kaleidoscope of old photographs, film, drawings, ideas and research which helps put the entire show into context and is certainly worth watching.
The walls around the project space are filling with lists contributed by visitors to the show of the items they would take with them if they had to leave for a life in transit. They make for some entertaining and thought-provoking reading and more are being added every day by visitors and by people submitting online. If you have not yet submitted your list, do so – either visit the show (on until June 17th) or submits online at Susan’s website