Beach Studies (Kerala) 2020 installation view
Looping video with sound 5.50mins
These short beach studies are from time spent in India (Kovalam), a seaside resort on the southern coast of Kerala) Jan 2019 and Jan 2020. It was intriguing to see how differently Indian people behaved in and around the sea. Going in fully clothed, chatting groups lark about, having fun in a way that we don’t seem to in the UK. The women unconcerned about their Saris, none caring about shoes getting wet, these groups jostle each other, boys splashing, dunking shrieking elders having fun. Until it’s time for the photos. For the photos everything changes. These arranged, curated moments are serious and intentional. Laughter stops for the moment when gazing at the camera is all, then resumes once the image is done. Each person has a strong idea of their ideal image, arranging themselves, giving orders to those around them, a curated idea of self.
It wasn’t until March 2020 when we into the coronavirus pandemic lockdown that the work began to take shape. It gave me somewhere to escape and dream of when we were barely allowed to leave our houses except for food and exercise. The child playing so freely in the surf takes us back to a freer time when we didn’t have to think about the future.
Those who seem to be having the most fun, don’t have their cameras out. The surfing boys, the child covering himself in sand, they are in the moment, feeling and enjoying. I made this work in the isolated lockdown, central London in March -June 2020 and it gave me comfort.
A shorter version has also been shown as part of: