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(Now Imagine) You Are Old And A Friend Is Brushing Your Hair

A collaboration with Stroud based artist Holly English in SVA gallery


Holly English and Eva Brá Barkardóttir

16.07.20 - 01.08.20

Throughout the day as we tirelessly saturated boxes, Eva tried to place the nostalgic smell of damp

cardboard and grass seeds. She located it suddenly as she picked up her bag to leave, and oh my.

It was the smell of baby puffin wee.

Eva grew up on a medium-sized Icelandic island, and at night, baby puffins would mistakenly fly from their smaller island towards the light of hers. The local kids would collect up these tiny fluffy stranded puffins and load them into cardboard boxes in the boot of their parents’ cars, releasing them on the beach when the sun came up. I mean, what??!

So when you come in to the gallery and start to feel dejected with the smell, please try instead to hold in

your mind an adorable baby puffin- try to reassign the smell to this. Maybe it’s doing a cute little wee in

your hand.

That’s okay, it’ll wash off.


Holly and Eva are currently studying for their MAs at Chelsea College.

Together they will imagine a future reality where humans can be humble and fine. They record this present time as a place for learning through futile gestures.

This work was made quite intuitively after many lengthy conversations about shared concerns such as

human guilt, the politics of grass, the absurdity of human ideals and the recent inertia.


Eva Barkardóttir is an Icelandic artist who’s practice explores an enquiry into fiction. The images presented suggest an element of filmic performance, acting as fragmented snapshots of moments in time, where the construct of a

narrative is left to the audience. Actions become symbolic, and the real world becomes a performance. Eva is interested in exploring the domestic space through the lens of absurdity and feminism. More recently Eva’s work deals with the commoditisation of eco-culture and together with partner Michael Poole she represents the duo ‘Procrastination Corporation’.

Holly is a Stroud based artist, who’s work presents as misplaced nurture and maintains an air of naive optimism. She views her actions as an admission of human guilt and a willingness to change.

Holly utilises humour and narrative to set up unassuming and haphazard scenarios or sets which facilitate conversation and hand the audience responsibility for their engagement.

She is driven by ecocentrist aspirations and looks to other species for coping strategies to alleviate human problems such as indecisiveness or inaction.

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