Shadowland Project

Somerset Arts Works in partnership with Halsway Manor commissioned a new artwork as part of ‘A Landscape of Objects’ funded by Arts Council England. Somerset visual artist Andrea Oke was invited to be resident artist at Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts between May and September 2018.

With parts of the building dating from the 15th Century and with a mention in the Domesday book, Halsway Manor is imbued with a rich folk heritage that encompasses dragons, devils, murder and Odin’s ghostly blacksmith. Yet much of this folk history is now forgotten creating a borderland of shadows and concealments. Through the combination of traditional craft and digital media Andrea reanimated Halsway Manor’s landscape by exploring some of the forgotten people and the stories that shaped the bedrock of this place.

“By creating a visual landscape of folklore and placing Halsway at its centre I hope to start new conversations that prevent both the stories and the storytellers from being lost to us forever.” Andrea Oke

During the project Andrea  researched the folklore and history of Halsway and its immediate surroundings, utilizing resources from within Halsway’s library collection and Somerset’s Heritage Centre, talked to local people and visited local sites. The research informed a pop-up exhibition of original artwork at Halsway Manor as part of Somerset Open Studios (Thu 27 – Sun 30 September, 10am – 5pm. Admission free) with opportunities to meet the artist and participate in family friendly workshops.

“We are delighted to be hosting Andrea Oke here as Artist in Residence. It is particularly exciting that she is here at a time when we are undergoing changes with our restoration project and widening our creative engagement. Andrea’s work here will enrich what we are doing and provide a wonderful chance for members of the public to experience an artist at work during Somerset Open Studios 2018.” Crispian Cook, CEO, Halsway Manor

Andrea blogged throughout her residency here .

Shadowland Project is the final commission of Somerset Art Works project A Landscape of Objects, funded by Arts Council England. A Landscape of Objects has consisted of a series of site-specific commissions, residencies, bursaries and curated shows, including new work from local to international artists, during 2017-18. This is a major artistic programme by SAW to encourage research by artists into the spirit of the place, local identity and rural context in the making and presenting of contemporary arts and craft, investigating innovative and imaginative uses of important man-made landscapes and our relationship to them.

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, has been established as a Charity since 1965. Nestling at the foot of the Quantock Hills Halsway Manor provides a year-round programme of events and activities in traditional folk music, dance, song, storytelling, folklore and related arts and crafts. We provide opportunities for thousands of people, of all ages, to discover, learn about and enjoy our traditional heritage.

Somerset Art Works (SAW) is an artist-led organisation and charity, Somerset’s only countywide agency dedicated to developing the visual arts. We initiate a wide range of projects in a variety of settings, working in partnership with other arts and non-arts organisations. We work to increase public engagement, weaving together communities and raising the profile of the vibrant contemporary visual, digital and applied arts in Somerset.

A Landscape of Objects commission is funded by Arts Council England Lottery Programme in partnership with Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts.