The colours and curves of Catherine Chinatree’s Resolutions instantly transport you to the sea: the partial glimpses of bodies, seaweed, water and light perfectly convey the joy and trepidation that characterise a group of amateur sea-swimmers as the waves lap and crash around them.
Chinatree created Resolutions for a window installation at University of the Arts London’s retail outlet Not Just a Shop. It’s a reflection of her own daily sea-bathing practice in Walpole Bay Tidal Pool in Margate (the largest tidal pool in the UK). “As a beginner to sea swimming myself, I would observe the behaviour of other swimmers’ responses to submerging in the waters,” she says. “We joked, saying [the pool] should be renamed Walpole Orchestra, with the different noises and movement of people jumping in, conducted by the sea.”
She adds: “It got me thinking about the many layers of exposing the body to the cold water, how it can feel, and appear to be emotional, physical and spiritual; of the dualities of movement and stillness.”
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Chinatree is a multidisciplinary visual artist based in Margate, with a body of work ranging from large-scale paintings to collages of sound and image. Her art explores the notion of the constructed self and human behaviour, as well as the hybrid culture that comes from her Welsh-Caribbean-Irish heritage. “Most of my inspiration comes from the outside world of everyday life,” she says. “Our daily activities, symbolism/rituals, and the people I meet. So it felt natural to respond to my observations when I began open water swimming.”
“As a beginner to sea swimming, I would observe the behaviour of other swimmers’ responses to submerging in the waters”
Chinatree studied at Wimbledon College of Arts and is a recipient of the Ferdynand Zweig arts travel scholarship award. However, her next project will be based close to home.
“I am very excited to be an artist selected for a project called Rise Up Residency,” she says. It’s a mural art project in Margate, led by the artist Louis Masai, who has selected 20 world-renowned street artists to create murals as a method of communication and catalyst for change. For this project I am working closely with the artist, researcher and writer PA Nicholls to unlock the sea as history, exploring Margate’s oldest African and Caribbean connections to the water and their representations in art and memory.”
Resolutions is available in a strictly limited edition of 50, signed by the artist