The Shell Art of War (2022)

Exhibited: The Environment, Fronteer Gallery, Sheffield, 20 March - 16 April, 2022.

[wood, shells of Ensis directus, Patella vulgata]

This representation of a standard 120 mm tank shell simultaneously tells of destruction and survival. As
well as posing a new perspective on the normally highly kitsch 'shell art', and replicating a piece of resource-hungry environmentally-destructive ordinance (whether used or decommissioned when its 'use-by-date' expires), it is simultaneously encrusted with shells of the invasive American ‘Jacknife clam’ razor shell species (Ensis directus), which is progressively colonising S.E. UK shores at the expense of our native species. As such, it also embodies something of the geopolitical ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the USA - which some might define as a colonising process….. However, on a more positive and pro-environmental note, these shells, as do all shells, in being almost totally comprised of calcium carbonate, serve to lock up carbon, and so, albeit to a small extent, can serve to help ameliorate global warming. So let 'shell-art' encrust and render inoperative such vile means of destruction!

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