Trophies of Empire is created using extracted femur heads - hip bones- from living consenting donors.
It consists of twin suspended stalagmites and stalactites of femoral head bones encrusted with crystals made from perservatives: salt and sugar, the former grows over time, the latter dissolves. At this time the bones in these sculptures are made with plaster casts of two donated bones. Eventually these may be replaced with the donated bones themselves which will be preserved and displayed in saline and sugar solutions that have, over time, formed crystals.
Historically the donors are generally dead. Fear is a very effective, insidious pandemic. Our fear of what happens to us after we die has made preservation of the physical-self omnipotent. To donate our bodies to research requires a leap forward and a letting go of our attachment to our physical selves.
These works recall the long-observed method of preserving meat, including embalming processes. Specfic to Liverpool, Salt has been produced in Cheshire for over 2,000 years and it is the only place in Britain where it is still produced on a large scale.
From about 1730 the merchants of Liverpool made huge profits from the slave trade. The trade formed a triangle. Goods from Manchester were given to the Africans in return for slaves. The slaves were transported across the Atlantic to the West Indies and sugar was brought back from there to Liverpool. In the 18th century sugar refining became an important industry in Liverpool. Henry Tate established his business in 1869 in Liverpool, later expanding to Silvertown, London. He used his industrial fortune to found the Tate Gallery in London in 1897. The first sugar was recorded in England in 1099, by 1750 there were 120 sugar refineries operating in Britain. Their combined output was only 30,000 tons per annum. At this stage sugar was still a luxury and vast profits were made to the extent that sugar was called "white gold". Annual consumption is now running at about 120 million tons and is expanding at a rate of about 2 million tons per annum.