Jan Frith – Artist commission for The D-Day Story 19 Apr 2022
‘Whatever Floats Your Boat – No Questions Asked’ was a community co-creation project led by artist Jan Frith as part of The D-Day Story’s celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month and International Women’s Day in Portsmouth. The project was made possible by Lottery Players with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and resulted in a colourful series of mini landing craft tank LCT-7074 ships.
‘Laser cutting was the only realistic solution: I needed at least 40 of these for a large number of people, and each model needed to be very precisely folded to fit together. The lines had to be really clean and accurate with some additional detailing that would help retain the look of the ship without any distortion after construction, because all of them were to be displayed as a suspended installation inside the former fuel compartment of the full sized LCT ship. The model constructions also had to be able to withstand being in a slightly damp environment for a month and still look pristine for a closing celebration event on 8th March 2022’
Jan explains her inspiration behind the flotilla of mini laser cut models:
‘It is impossible not to be moved by the physical experience of LCT-7074 whilst pondering the hidden stories of fear, hardship and survival, many of which we cannot know. During the Second World War the ship carried up to 10 tanks across the Channel, but it is easy to overlook its lesser heard stories: After the Second World War the ship became a lively 1960’s nightclub – ‘Clubship Landfall’ – with people partying to the sound of the Beatles on the River Mersey.
I felt the LCT’s past as a journeying vessel could be used to engage with contemporary audiences as most people can relate to journeying, crossing-over, adventuring and exploration. Community participants from the 4U youth group and the Community Champions group run by Stop Domestic Abuse in partnership with the British Red Cross joined various sessions at the museum.
They reflected on the extreme challenges faced at D-Day, shared their own experiences and challenges of discrimination and abuse, and then turned their stories into really positive self-expressions. No questions were asked and no judgements were made as they gave the flotilla of LCT models striking visual makeovers.
Jan Frith explores past and present through different technologies, artefacts and machines. She often works collaboratively with groups of people across various age demographics, to discover interesting stories and connections, contrasting historical contexts and exposing the material aspects of technology or human/technology interactions.
View more at:
(Jan Frith) https://janfrith.co.uk/