Suspended 

An installation artwork

St James's Church, Piccadilly

14th December 2017 - 9th February 2018

AP Suspended1.jpg
The most talked-about contemporary artwork in London right now
— The New York Times
It is impossible not to be moved by Suspended. Every one of these items of clothing represents a life, it is very poignant.
— Labour peer Alf Dubs
From afar, the clothes hang in a mass like a ghostly chandelier adorning the nave of the church. But the artist, who has worked in Gaza, Afghanistan and Iraq, wants worshippers to look closer and reflect on the individuals who once wore the garments. Refugees are not numbers, they are people...
— The Daily Mail

Suspended is an installation artwork created out of hundreds of items of clothing that have been discarded by refugees arriving on the beaches of Lesbos, having recently fled war, persecution and poverty.

Suspended hangs above the nave of St James's Piccadilly and follows on from Arabella's critically acclaimed work Flight, which hung in St James's over the Christmas period in 2015/16. It forms part of her ongoing series of works seeking to highlight the humanitarian crisis of forced displacement across the world today.

0D7R9052.JPG
0D7R8245.JPG

Suspended looks to reflect the experience of the thousands of refugees who now remain stuck in limbo between a lost past and an uncertain future. The use of children's clothing in particular, asks for an engagement with the current plight of unaccompanied minors, who face the very real risk of human trafficking, slavery and radicalisation.

As we approach the festive season, Arabella's new installation invites the viewer to embark upon their own journey of understanding and empathy, for the rootless and volatile experience of those caught between a past to which they cannot return, and a future to which they cannot move forward.

Suspended is a fundraising initiative for the Starfish Foundation, helping refugee children and families in Lesbos and beyond.

For more information, please download our PDF. 

The Backstory ...

After months of sourcing, gathering, cleaning, packing and shipping 1,400 items of discarded refugee clothes arrived in St James's Piccadilly. During the weeks that followed, the clothes were sorted, shaped and sculpted before the final overnight installation. We had 24 hours to get the whole installation hung and we did it! Thank you to the amazing team from Starlight Design - with you anything is possible! And to my awesome group of volunteers, I don't know what I would have done without your tireless energy and support.


Other reading

feminismandreligion.com/2015/11/02/crossing-the-sea-of-death-by-carol-p-christ/

*****

This installation would not have been possible without the generous support of individual donors, the Starfish Foundation, Dirty Girls of Lesvos and, of course, St James's Piccadilly and Canterbury Cathedral.