Sweet Swollen: You can’t see it, but I have one here and I can show you is a new commission by Holly Graham. Comprising print and audio, these works consider historic links between domestic culinary culture and visual culture within Europe. They circulate around a series of conversations with some of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s African Heritage tour guides, taking a pair of 18th century Meissen porcelain sweetmeats bowls from the museum’s collections as a starting point for a discussion on histories and legacies of sugar. The two pieces of tableware are part of a wider tradition of similar figurines that embody, and silently testify to, financial gain through processes of colonial exploitation; manifest in decorative design and both edible and cultural consumption.
Holly Graham is an artist based in London. Much of her work considers the malleable and subjective nature of individual and collective memory. Bound up in this lies an interest recording mechanisms, documents, evidence and processes of editing. She undertook her BFA at Oxford University in 2012 and graduated from MA Printmaking at the Royal College of Art in 2014, where she received the Thames Barrier Print Studio Graduate Award and the Augustus Martin Award for Innovation in Print. Concurrent to her studio practice, she leads workshops in schools, community groups and galleries. Recent exhibitions and projects include: On my island none of this would be true, Arebyte, London (2018); After Harry Jacobs: Outside, Cypher Billboard, London (2017); House Work, 53 Back Road, London (2017); Altai: Experiments in Collective Practice, RCA Dyson Gallery, London (2017); Backdrop, Cypher, Berlin / Bond House Projects with Art Licks Weekend, London (2016); Jack Petchey: START Programme, South London Gallery, London (2015-16); In Transit, Art On The Underground, London (2016); Flat-Pack, The Greenroom, Krakow (2015).