Locke’s exuberant and large-scale installation consisted of around 100 model ships – warships, trawlers, steamers, liners, brigs, rafts, junks – collected from around the world as well as made in his studio out of cardboard. Referring to sea trade and migration, the eclectic fleet was suspended from the nave of St Mary and St Eanswythe’s Church, The Bayle, the oldest building in Folkestone.
Locke uses a wide range of media and makes extensive use of found objects and collage. He has a special interest in working around sites and ideas with a historical resonance, and has cited architecture ranging from the Baroque, Rajput, Islamic, and Caribbean vernacular to Victorian funfairs as influences. Recurrent themes and imagery include visual expressions of power, trophies, globalisation, movement of peoples, the creation of cultures, ships and boats, and packaging.
‘I want the piece to stimulate thoughts on globalisation, and on illegal immigration, people smuggling, drug smuggling, contemporary piracy, etc. When I was 10 years old I travelled from Guyana to England with my family. During this voyage, two stowaways were discovered. I always wondered what their fate was – they seemed distraught.’ – Hew Locke