Seaweed in the fruit locker - Give & Takeover commission

Rhys Morgan

Image credit: Rhys Morgan

Seaweed in the fruit locker is a series of performances by an LGBTQIA+ sea shanty choir who were formed by artist Rhys Morgan to explore collective performance in marginalized communities through the tradition of shanty singing.

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Rhys Morgan, Seaweed in the Fruit Locker, Give and Takeover, Performance, Tactics for Togetherness Symposium. Credit: Dom Moore.

Over recent months the choir have used their lived experience to rework existing shanties and inspire new ones, continuing the tradition of these folk songs being adapted time and again through generations.

As a queer person who grew up in a rural, coastal village, Rhys has always found shanties (which have their roots as worker songs,performed by ‘burly’ men) inaccessible yet still intriguing. Despite the countless accounts of queerness within sea faring communities,such as the same sex marriages (or matelage) which were common amongst pirates during the 17th and 18th centuries, and literary accounts (including Moby Dick, Billy Budd & Querell); the queer community has been largely ignored and hidden. This work seeks to reclaim a space for queer people within this context, through coming together with others to celebrate our identity and proudly present our own shanty songs.

During The British Art Show 9 exhibition exhibition the choir will perform a set of new and updated sea shanties in different venues across Plymouth.

Rhys Morgan is a queer interdisciplinary artist based in Plymouth, UK. His work explores queerness as an operative in everyday experience and the expectations,possibilities and limitations of how this is expressed. He is currently undertaking an MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, London.


To launch MIRROR’s Give & Takeover programme strand, MIRROR has commissioned three South West based artists to respond to the 2022 exhibitions programme. Give & Takeover’s can take any form with the one rule that they must not disturb the exhibition they are responding to and intervening in.

The Give & Takeover commission series has been funded by Arts Council England with the support of National Lottery players.

Image credit: Rhys Morgan