Shopkeepers of the World
Charity shops hold the objects that tell the stories of their community.
Shopkeepers of the World is a project uniting and celebrating the culture of shopping in St Leonards on Sea and Bexhill, exploring the charity shop as a vessel for memories of people and place.
Based on the idea of the charity shop as an archive for the community, four artists worked with staff and volunteers, objects and stories to create a trail of artworks that highlight and celebrate the role the charity shop in people's lives. A series of art installations by artists Alinah Azadeh, Noemi Lakmaier, Albert Potrony and Hermione Allsopp were situated across St Leonards and Bexhill from the 8th-30th September 2018 as part of Coastal Currents Arts Festival.
Albert worked with the volunteers at the Mencap Charity Shop and two Clairvoyants. The result of these shared moments came together in an installation of video and sound fragments which were scattered and tucked away within the shop. The work is a subtle homage to the individuals that help make charity shops a viable alternative to commercial retail and to the lives of people whose discarded objects find a temporary home in the space.
Magic is Here
Alinah's textile banners are stitched, sewn and stamped using recycled fabrics from the shop and beyond. They are embedded with mottos, stories and reflections contributed by the volunteers, vocalising the unseen magic threaded through the life cycle of the shop and its relationship to its community. The work is now permanently on display in the charity shop.
The Fabric Of Work
As part of The Fabric of Work, Noëmi invited the public to bring an old item of work clothing to HFS and join her in a conversation about the item, while she stitched it, and work-related stories, into the fabric of the installation.
Hermione is interested in the life cycle of objects from production to consumption to waste (or reuse) and how this relates to our own lives and cycles in nature. A long-stemmed glass is symbolic of beginnings and endings. We may raise a glass to make a toast to celebrate birth or to bid farewell. Hermione’s work paid tribute to the markings of these occasions. Her sculptures presented the union of these glasses, fused together in time. The possibilities and impossibilities of working with glass have led Hermione on a journey of process. The people she has met along the way have helped, informed and inspired.
Read our zine featuring stories behind items donated to charity collected during project Donation Days. Click below to view online or pick up your own copy in partner charity shops.
About the artists
Alinah Azadeh is an artist, writer and performer using gift, ritual and materiality to open up fresh ways of reflecting on our social and cultural identities. Over the last two decades, interwoven with her solo practice, her public artworks have involved thousands of people in installations and live projects exploring grief, loss and debt to equality, social change, migration and conflict.
Noëmi Lakmaier is an Austrian born British live and performance artist. Her work explores notions of the ‘Other’ from the physical to the philosophical, the personal to the political. She has a particular interest how we relate to ourselves and others as embodied being-in-the-world. Using her own body, alongside everyday materials as well as the bodies of others, she creates durational, endurance based performances and living installations, which explore the boundaries between the objectified physiological body we have and the phenomenological body we are.
Albert Potrony is an artist with a participatory practice exploring ideas of identity, community and language. Albert is interested in generating social spaces through his projects, and participation from diverse groups and individuals is a key element of his work.
Hermione Allsopp is an artist who typically makes sculptural work by collecting objects and furniture and re-creating them into new form or compositions. She lives and works in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex. She graduated from MA Fine Art at UCA Canterbury in 2012.
Project in partnership with St Michael’s Hospice, Shelter, Hastings Furniture Service, Hastings and Bexhill Mencap, Autism Sussex, De La Warr Pavilion, Jerwood and Arts Council England.
Listen to interviews revealing the stories behind objects donated to charity gathered at project Donation Days: