Barter Auction: A community project funded by Arts Council England & supported by Canary Wharf Group
We are pleased to announce Barter Auction, the solo exhibition of the sole trader Pat Wingshan Wong in collaboration with the fishmongers at the Billingsgate Fish Market. It brings the marginalised voices and stories of the fishmongers to centre stage as a collective response to the market’s second relocation by 2027. It is the second iteration of the Barter Archive, a series of works centred on the experiences of the market and Wong’s growing relationship to the Billingsgate fishmonger community.
Barter Auction is an exploration of power, commerce, and accumulation of capital through a performative auctioning of Billingsgate artworks. The exhibition attempts to utilise the economics of the art world and create artworks that can question capitalist power structures in our society, performing the consumption of memories as a critique of value production and the commodification of memories. Wong will hold an auction performance during the exhibition ‘selling’ her works, encouraging the visitors to reflect on the existing capitalist-consumerist culture and the social impact of gentrification. This ‘auction’ will not be the last, rather marking the beginning of the many auctions in the future as the market continues to be displaced.
In reference to urban legend and folklore, Wong has developed eight highly personal sketches and legendary stories of the fishmongers, alongside 3D-printed ceramics of their memorable objects, to be shown in a physical exhibition and live auction performance. Created from bone china extracted from fish bone ash, each work is formed by directly using the 3D-scanned data from the fishmongers’ objects. This exhibition will underscore an integral part of Wong’s practice — an ongoing dialogue with marginalised communities and an exploration into constructs of identity all through artistic practice.
Since October 2019, every morning before dawn breaks, Wong has immersed herself into sketching in Billingsgate as a way of opening up dialogue with the fishmongers. In early explorations of individual and communal identity in the market, she recorded and documented the fishmongers’ stories, and witnessed their strong community bond. She has since sought to construct an archive called Barter Archive involving the fishmongers in order to give visibility, respect and compassion to the invisible or marginalised communities on the Isle of Dogs.
The archive engages with the economic language of bartering, both physically and symbolically. It includes memorable objects ‘bartered’ by the artist, exchanged for her observational drawings of the happenings in the space, as well as videos documenting stories and memories of the Billingsgate community. The archive is a repository for the collective memory of the market and challenges the ways in which ‘value’ is assigned in our society amid urban development. Barter Auction follows Barter Outlet, a pop-up exhibition in Billingsgate Fish Market celebrating its community bonding earlier in June 2021.
- Artist & Exhibition Co-curator: Pat Wingshan Wong
- Exhibition Co-curator & PR: Wan Yi Sandra Lam
- Content Editor: Vivien Chan
- Visual Design: William Jacobson
- Exhibition Design: JMKD studio
- Exhibition Production: TJWK
- Creative Technologist: Kachi Chan
- Documentation Photographer: Jimmi Ho
- Ceramic Consultant: Ho Lai
Special thanks to Canary Wharf Group, Kingston School of Art, Royal College of Art
and the Billingsgate fish market community for their ongoing support to this project.
Barter Auction: Crossrail Place Roof Garden, Canary Wharf
- Opening Reception & Auction Performance: Saturday 6 November, 5pm
- Viewing Exhibition: Saturday 6 – Sunday 28 November 2021, 12noon-6pm
For further information, please contact:
Canary Wharf Group plc
T: 020 7418 2166
Notes to Editors
About The Artist
Pat Wingshan Wong is a Hong Kong community-based visual artist, working as Lecturer at Kingston School of Art, Illustration Animation Department and graduated from MA in Illustration at Royal College of Art. Her practice lies in the intersections of architecture, memory and identity. Her illustrations that portray community stories, which range from people, to landscapes and objects from her surroundings, are evocative meditations on urban development and its public and personal significance.
She published her first illustration book The Scenery of Old Shops (2016) and the second book Once Upon a Time in Tai Kwun (2018). She has collaborated with various arts organisations including Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Art, Hong Kong Museum of Art, West Kowloon Cultural District, M+ Museum and Hong Kong Science Museum.
She held an exhibition 100 Faces of Tai Kwun (2018) in Central, Hong Kong and her artworks have been included in the collection of the Hong Kong Museum of Art.
About The Curator
Wan Yi Sandra Lam is an independent curator and writer based in London. She holds an MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths, University of London. She works with contemporary artists to develop socially engaged practice that addresses questions of identity and belonging. In London, she has initiated and curated a number of independent public events and exhibition programmes that involves local communities in social interaction, including By the time we are gone (2019) at Safehouse 1, We are all in the business of fighting for air (2019) at Chisenhale Studios, Radio Neighbourhood (2021) at the British Library and the Migration Museum. She currently works as Curatorial Fellow at Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art.
About Canary Wharf Group:
Canary Wharf Group (CWG) is the developer of the largest urban regeneration project in Europe. CWG develops, manages and currently owns interests in approximately 7.7 million square feet of office space, 0.9 million square feet of retail and over 1,000 Build to Rent apartments.
CWG is the largest sustainable developer in the UK with over 11 million square feet of sustainable certified buildings. CWG also excels operationally having purchased 100% electricity from renewable sources since 2012 and zero waste to landfill since 2009.
CWG has created a 24/7 city where people can live/work/play on the Canary Wharf estate and enjoy all the benefits: great transport links, access to green spaces and waterside living; and a wide range of amenities including an award-winning arts and events programme.
Canary Wharf’s retail offering comprises over 300 shops, including grocery stores, pharmacies, health clubs, bars and restaurants, all within 15 minutes’ walk.
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