Cait Sweeney – Resident Artist
Adults Creative Programme Manager
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Cait Sweeney is an artist and designer based in Oxford. Primarily known for her work as an installation artist, she has a particular interest in the art and architecture of memory; Weaving together threads of memory, jewels of recollection and the layering of lives, her on-going project The Broken Home Collection (established 2010), encapsulates much of this.
“Memory is hard to figure, much less the accreted meaning of a house, of a community, but here the focus is simple – the suspension of found or donated objects and an ever-growing number of them; shelved, hung and otherwise housed. The construction traces the compressed space of multiple household rooms – exploded for the viewer – and the fragments on view are fascinating.
Fascinating, not because of the intrinsic aesthetic value of a broken chandelier or a discarded Barbie, but because of the way they take resonance both from their unknowable pasts, and from their infinite relevance in the present. We both sense the history and attachments latent in the elements of a thousand homes, and imagine their correspondence to the features of our own homes we so rarely see in isolation. This is where the work’s socio-political space weaves its magic – we feel compelled to make two imaginative leaps at once, which prompts us to look at our own memories afresh and to engage empathetically with the memories of others.” Merlin Seller, The Oxford Student.
Thoughtful and playful her installation work is frequently taken out of the conventional gallery space and into the public domain; shopping centres such as Templars Square are a favourite location and the work often invites various aspects of participation.
Building on her experience with BHC, Cait has collaborated on a number of Oral History and Reminiscence projects using a range of creative activities with the older generation and community groups promoting, amongst other things; health, wellbeing and companionship in the process.
Cait says “Whilst I enjoy painting, painting is a singular and solitary business; in contrast to this my installation work often incorporates a range of creative processes, including photography, collage, performance and film. Engaging directly with the community and individuals within it, it is this interaction; the conversations, the shared anecdotal histories both personal and collective that help shape and form the work as it is continually evolving.”