Departure Lounge is delighted to present On the Wings of a Wirebird, a participatory exhibition from multidisciplinary artist Sophie Gresswell.

Based locally in Luton, Gresswell is initiating a year-long international project including a residency on the island of Saint Helena, an overseas British territory in the South Atlantic with a little-known history and small diaspora in the UK. Considering the legacy and history of empire and the Commonwealth, the project will explore themes of identity, mixed heritage and belonging, while also asking what it means to be ‘British’ today.

This exhibition is a point of entry for the artist’s residency in the South Atlantic and will display works in progress including canvas hangings, paintings, collages, and poetry. The show will encourage visitors to contribute their own thoughts and journeys to the project, while also hosting workshops with local community groups to feedback on the themes of the exhibition. These public contributions will help shape the wider context of the project which will begin in early 2023 and will include with a series of further exhibitions in Luton, before concluding at the Higgins Museum, Bedford in Summer 2023.

Inspired by personal history and heritage – the residency is the first time a member of the artist’s family has visited St Helena, since her grandfather migrated to the UK in the 1940s – this project represents the opportunity for Gresswell to reclaim a greater sense of her own identity. It will also develop a wider understanding of the extremely remote island’s largely hidden histories.


  • Thursday, September 15, 2022

Departure Lounge Gallery

Storefront Gallery