Paccha Turner Chuji is ONCA’s first Enjoolata-supported artist in residence on the Barge. Paccha is using her space and time on board to explore ideas and develop mixed media techniques.
Just off the shore and all around the marina where the Barge is moored, a Marine Conservation Zone protects the unique local chalk reef ecosystem here. Paccha has been finding inspiration from this, and from the idea that just out of sight there is kelp forest beneath the waves. She explains:
“When I’m surrounded by the city, I find it challenging to deeply connect with the actual disentangled reality that lies outside the constructed multilayers of the urban bubble. Even within a relatively small place like Brighton, I find most structural elements overwhelming and disassociating; the city feels like it has consumed and keeps on consuming time and space. This is probably why I perceive nature to be much less prominent when close to these surroundings – which is true, but also doesn’t mean it is not present.
Much of society and the city, including the wind farm with its red glowing eyes which stare at us every night; the constant boats and cargo ships that travel through the channel in the distance; and my personal experience within Brighton – which had to do with seeing a great part of my life crumble alongside the rest of the world – has definitely influenced this pessimistic (but somewhat realistic) idea that the sea life here has been hurt very much by humans and is therefore less present. I specifically had this perspective with sea creatures, imagining that much of the native marine life has run away.
However, as I have gone through transitions in my life, my positions and perspectives have unfolded as well. And I acknowledge that part of this pessimistic view was based on ignorance, as I have recently found out about the Beachy Head West MCZ, which is home to diverse creatures and habitats such as forests of kelp. I am in the process of learning how to remain connected to the omnipresent boundless breathing of the Pacha Mama, even when I’m within the city. Art is one of the powerful bridges that reveals, reflects and allows me to explore this unlayered truth.”
[Image description: a colourful collage of photographs of flowers, trees, water and plants. A large fish is in the foreground]