Friday, 14 August 2020

Silver Spoon exhibition - Groving

Henry Driver
Henry Driver

I'm hugely exhibited about taking part in this new public art exhibition. It is part of the Groving initiative of Barbara Dougan who I exhibited with last year in the Acts of Resistance exhibition. With galleries and Arts funding proving to be even more elusive and elitist because of COVID we need these new bright exhibitions to reach the public on their own doorstep.

One specially commissioned artwork will appear in a public space each day from 14 August to 28 August in the Suffolk town of Bury St Edmunds, UK as part of the wonderful Silver Spoon exhibition. Enjoy seeking it out within the circled area, leave it for someone else to find, or take it home. Check out all the latest 

Alban Low, Rod Bugg, Alison Carlier, Henry Driver, Dean Reddick, Sandra Lane, Deborah Pipe, Jacquie Campbell, Julia Manheim, Sarah Sabin, Barbara Dougan, Amanda Loomes
Ed Arantus, Kevin Acott, Lynda Turbet, Lynn Whitehead, Phil Barrett, Natalie Low, Sue Burge, Tim Welton, David Dougan, Deborah Bowkis

Today's artwork is by Henry Driver. I wrote the words to accompany it.

You watched me under the microscope; I know you did

With a snake eye glance like I've never seen, you took me in

Like a petri, parcel, package, like a dream

You didn’t notice my beauty, no connection, and I

Wasn't looking for you to rescue me

I wondered just which part of me you wanted

I hope you realize I’m not all sweet, all things nice, with spice


You see me under glass, all made up, your fantasy

And it's the lazy way, I’m more than a money tree

Because even white snow fades

Like dirty socks, don’t throw me away

I’m not just a pretty cross section

All torn out, worn and left behind

So I won't be sad if you change your mind 

Silver Spoon

Bury St Edmunds is dominated visually by the sugar beet factory, which contrasts boldly with the medieval grid and interesting mix of historic buildings that make up the core of the market town. The ‘beet’ also makes its presence felt through the distinctive smell and plumes of vapor during processing.

The factory at Bury St Edmunds started operations in the 1920s, and has been processing sugar beet grown in Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire ever since, linking the town inextricably with it’s rural hinterland. During 1973, the Bury sugar beet factory became the largest in Europe when two new silos were built. The refinery processes beet from 1,300 growers – 2 million tonnes – into 320,000 tonnes of sugar per annum. It’s common to see beets, like lumpen severed heads, rolling on the road when 660 lorry-loads of beet are being delivered on average each day. 

In 1972, ‘Silver Spoon’ was launched as the retail brand name of British Sugar, selling granulated, caster, cubed and icing sugar. British Sugar now has 4 factories, down from 18, but can still produce as much sugar. It has recently faced challenges including major market Tesco switching to a sugar producer in China, and the campaign to reduce sugar consumption in the face of rising obesity and diabetes.

​And the phrase ‘silver spoon’ can have completely different connotations. Before the place setting became popular around 1700, people brought their own spoons to the table, carrying them in the same way that people today carry wallet and keys. In pre-modern times, ownership of a silver spoon was an indication of social class, denoting membership in the land-owning classes.

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