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Trade Winds


A sculptural installation made from paper currency, maps, travel tickets and copper coins, concerned with issues of migration, borders, trade, social geography, mapping and material culture. 

Trade Winds developed out of Sail Away initially shown in TATE Modern's Turbine Hall (2013) as part of the Hyperlink Festival. The flotilla of boats weaves across the sea of coins as if on a journey to elsewhere. Though the mass of currency resembled a sea, the coins' edges formed the suggestion of a continent. Questions raised were; is it an ocean or is it land? Are the boats contained or free? Is there a border or a wall? Is the money enabling or restricting? The sheer physical amount of money provoked a dramatic response from audiences. 

During the course of all the exhibitions people were very enthusiastic about the work, adding their coins, making stories about scenarios for the boats, asking how much money's there, where it's from and how much does it weigh? Addressing issues of trade, migration, financial markets, value and the history of seafaring nations travelling the globe for trading purposes, this piece asks pertinent questions that are especially relevant to today's migrant crisis and our Brexit conundrum. The work provides a quiet space for reflection in which to enjoy the playful, tactile objects whilst also provoking questions about our relationship to money and how it shapes our fragile world. It invites us to see moneys' role beyond our everyday familiar relationship with it. 

Photographs by Simona Pesche, Steve Hickey & Paula Beetlestone - with thanks. 


Trade Winds  St. Peter's Church, University of Cambridge the accompanying exhibition to Migrant Knowledge: Early Modern and beyond, ERC-funded project Crossroads of Knowledge CRASSH and the Faculty of English.

Distancing with: Basil Beattie, Dryden Goodwin & Frances Aviva-Blane EcArtspace

The Sea is The Limit  Virginia Commonwealth University, Doha, Qatar 2019. York Art Gallery 2018. Patrick Heide Contemporary Art 2017

Trade Winds Hall Place & Gardens, Kent, Oct 2016 - March 2016


The Seas and the Mobility of Islamic Art  chapter 15 2021

Elephant Magazine The British Artist Tackling the Long Dark Shadow of Colonialism by Paul Carey-Kent 2019

Art After Money, Money After Art  Pluto books by Max Haiven 2018

Susan Stockwell

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