• I wonder what inspires Samantha Sweeting?

    By Abigail Christenson -

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We went to Hope Primary, St Aloysius Catholic Primary and Westvale Primary schools in Knowsley and Liverpool to find out what children like you thought about some of the artists in the Alice in Wonderland exhibition at Tate Liverpool. Here are Samantha Sweeting’s answers to the children’s questions.

What is your inspiration for your work?
I am interested in the cycles of life and death and the repetitive nature of storytelling, explored through myth, memory, dreams and fairytales. I am also inspired by where I live and the relationships and conversations I share with people.

  • Run Rabbit, Run Rabbit, Run Run Run, 2007 (video, duration: 2 mins)
  • Samantha Sweeting
  • Courtesy of the artist

How do you set the scene?
I often work at home or in other domestic settings, where the scene is already set and I am part of it. If I am presenting in a gallery or another external context, I like to re-create a similar atmosphere by introducing key elements that are important to me, for example taking my bed into the gallery and inviting people to lie in it.

I wonder why you have chosen a RABBIT/hare?
I like that such a familiar animal can also be magical. Rabbits symbolise re-birth and trickery, which is apt as I am re-animating the rabbit in my video. Like the White Rabbit, he is constantly running to escape time and death.

I wonder if the rabbit/hare in your work is alive?
I found the rabbit dead on a Devonshire lane and wanted to give it a proper burial. So I carried him to Wistman’s Wood on Dartmoor, where my friend Soriah was performing a Tuvan throat singing ritual. I started playing with the rabbit like a marionette and was mesmerised by the fluidity of the running movement. The video has given him eternal life.

When you make your work how do you make it look like real life?
It is real life! Just a stripped back and emotionally-heightened portrayal of it. I look for enchantment in the everyday.

Why do you take photos instead of drawing or painting?
There is something melancholic in the desire to contain life in an image, which appeals to me. I like that photographic images can be seen as both documents of reality and as fiction. I write a lot too, which shares a similar intimacy with drawing.

If you visit the exhibition, we’d love to hear what you think about Samantha Sweeting’s works in the comments…

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