A new atrium case display at Wakefield One
by Jade Simpson (born 1993)
Mixed media sculpture composed of Fabric, Cardboard, Straw, Wire, Polystyrene, ModRoc, Spray Paint, 2015
Inspired by Charles Waterton’s coiled boa constrictor, ‘The Goddess’ is a representation of western societies’ attitudes towards native cultures such as those in the rainforests of South America, particularly through the eyes of the museum. The piece embodies the way in which creatures and powerful artefacts were collected from native countries by British explorers and when placed in a museum became simply objects for scientific observation. However, the artefacts may still hold remnants of power, superstition and foreboding even to a scientist.
Like Waterton’s boa, this too is a giant coiled serpent, however, it coils into the form of a large round anthropomorphic body with two heads that become one. The heads are visually architectural in reference to South American temples and statues, in contrast to the more organic material of the body. Once a powerful figure, ‘The Goddess’ is now captured in the vitrine of the museum.’
For more information about Jade and her work visit: jadieeleanor
Charles Waterton’s Boa Constrictor
Charles Waterton (1782 - 1865) the traveller, explorer and naturalist of Walton Hall, caught an enormous fourteen foot snake in 1820 in the rainforests of Guyana. He preserved it and it now forms part of the Waterton Collection on display in Wakefield Museum (go see it!).
A boa constrictor (or Coulacanara as Waterton called it) is a non-poisonous snake that coils its body around its prey and squeezes it to death. Waterton said that he could ‘easily get (his) head into its mouth’.
Stoke on Trent based artist Jade Simpson is fascinated by natural History collections. She came to Wakefield for a six week residency at the Art House and became inspired to create her own sculpture based on Waterton’s boa constrictor specimen.
Look out for more Waterton related arty creations this year as Wakefield celebrates 150 years of Waterton’s legacy.