I’ve always wondered about snails since I was small. The fascination with these spiral treasures is something which never gets old. Even now I find myself on a warm, damp night looking for snails and wondering about their habits and behaviours. The lifecycle of a snail can be studied and quantified but what of the afterlife? Do snails believe in reincarnation? What could they transform into once they’ve shuffled off this mortal coil? Is there a ghost in the shell?
I’ve reworked the insides of found snail shells and imagined what fantasies could be within. Inspiration comes from looking at other transformations in the animal world such as moths and butterflies where vivid colours emerge from an empty brown husk.
I’ve created ten sculptures and photographed them whilst on residency at The Workers Gallery in Wales. Snails spend much of their life hiding to avoid predators so I’ve installed these works in secret so that even the gallery owners have been in the dark about where each Finders Keepers sculpture can be found. Hunting and finding is the nature of the game for each snail in this imagined afterlife, just as it was for each snail when it was alive. Each found sculpture is there to be kept by the finder. I have no idea whether this will be the gallery owners themselves or visitors to the gallery over the coming weeks. My resposibility has been to assist the snail in passing from this life into their reincarnated existence. What happens now is up to whomever finds these artworks.
The photographs have a potential all of their own. I’m considering framed prints but I would want each print to be unique; just as each Finders Keepers is unique.
The Workers Gallery can be found at 99 Ynyshir Road, Ynyshir, Rhondda CF39 0EN
Opening times: Thursday to Saturday 11am – 4:30pm.
Finders Keepers snails can be found there until they’re found!