project manager and curator

Rupert Cox (Other), Steven Feld (Other), Virginia Ryan (Other)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


A collaboration between The Whitworth Art Gallery and the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology at the University of Manchester Castaways is a multimedia installation featuring rows of sculptural paintings with a surround-sound ambient audioscape designed to evoke the waves and shorelines of the beaches of Ghana. Created by visual artist, Virginia Ryan and anthropologist and sound artist Professor Steven Feld, Castaways evokes the spaces of the beaches that were departure points for slaves making the forced journey across the Atlantic and powerfully commemorates similar moments of displacement. Consisting of more than two hundred pieces, hung closely together in rows, and surrounded by the aural environment of the shoreline creating continuous wave of memory and repetition, referencing gold, slavery, oceans, beaches, people and displacement.The collages are constructed from objects that were once desired and purchased, used and worn, carried and discarded, left to wash out on the tide and then carried back in. These found materials are whitewashed and shot through with grey and gold, reminiscent of the sand and foam on the shorelines where they were collected. Artist Virginia Ryan’s use of washed-up objects explores idea of human pasts and human places well as place, “remembering and recording the simple stuff of people’s contemporary needs and desires along the one-time Gold Coast of West Africa”Steven Feld describes his response to the Castaways “as though I was putting my ear to a huge seashell and listening to the detritus of history”. Composed from recordings made along Anomabo beach, Feld’s composition Anomabo Shoreline creates an acoustic memory of where the Gold Coast becomes the Black Atlantic.Castaways has a special resonance as 2007 is the 50th anniversary of Ghanaian national independence. It also has a synergy with wider cultural events around the bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act through the Greater Manchester wide Revealing Histories. See for further information.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventCastaways - The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester, Manchester
Duration: 1 Jan 1824 → …


  • audio/visual media, art and anthropology


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