The Box

Another Crossing

The Past As Future Artifact Mask 2 2020 by Jeffrey Gibson Image by Brian Barlow Courtesy of the Artist and Sikkema Jenkins Co New York
The Past As Future Artifact Mask 2 (2020) Jeffrey Gibson. Image: Brian Barlow Courtesy of the Artist and Sikkema Jenkins Co New York

'Another Crossing' has been developed in partnership between Plymouth College of Art, The Box and Fuller Craft Museum, Massachusetts.

10 artists. 4 nations. Centuries of making. This exhibition is part of the ongoing Mayflower 400 commemorations at The Box.

Featuring work by: Annette Bellamy | Sonya Clark | David Clarke | Michelle Erickson | Jeffrey Gibson | Jasleen Kaur | Christien Meindertsma | Jonathan James Perry | Katie Schwab | Allison Smith

Just over four hundred years ago, the Mayflower embarked from Plymouth, England. Many aboard were non-conformists, leaving their homeland for fear that their religious community would otherwise perish. On arriving in what seemed to them a 'new world' they established a settlement. But of course this land was already long inhabited. The Wampanoag people lived in the region, which they called Patuxet.

The implications of the Mayflower crossing are so far-reaching they are sometimes difficult to comprehend. The voyage is both a national origin story for America and, given the widespread devastation of the Indigenous population that resulted, an event to mourn. There is common ground here in the act of remembrance, but the distance between these two perspectives can feel vast, more difficult to navigate than an ocean in a wooden boat.

'Another Crossing' charts a course through this abyss. The project is a transatlantic collaboration organised by Plymouth College of Art, The Box and the Fuller Craft Museum in Massachusetts, USA. During the exhibition’s development, the artists travelled to both places to better understand the historical context, visit key locations and meet historians, academics and curators.

The premise of the exhibition is simple: each participating artist has created work in response to the Mayflower anniversary, utilising only tools, materials and processes that existed in 1620. It's a concept that highlights the sophistication of historic craft practices like beadwork, joinery, metalsmithing, leatherwork and pottery.

It also has a metaphorical intention: the art works inhabit two moments in time, stretching across four centuries. They are by turns introspective, outraged, sad, funny, surprising and humane. Each offers its own wisdom. Collectively, they suggest that the journey undertaken by the Mayflower is still in progress all these years later. We’re still trying to get to a better place.

Exhibition resources

Read 'In the Artist's Words' - an insightful British Art Studies article by Curator, Glenn Adamson.

Listen to a 'Craft Chat' recorded when 'Another Crossing' was on display at the Fuller Craft Museum with UK artist, David Clarke.

Find out more about Mayflower 400.

Read 'American Design Stories: Michelle Erickson' - find out how artist Michelle Erickson has used 17th-century ceramic techniques in her works that take on 21st-century issues.

Watch an eight-minute film to find out more about Michelle Erickson's unique approach to ceramic arts.