The ice cream van is a vehicle that brings people together, a simple collective action that isn’t bound by age or area. FANDANGOE WHIP wants to reach the heart of communities around the UK, serving ice cream, running workshops, talks, and working as an interactive, evolving installation dedicated to exploring, and talking about, the grief and surreality at the centre of 2020. I experienced the loss of my own family back in 2011, and much of my work is informed by the desire to smash taboos around traumatic loss and associated mental health. Using the ice cream van, I want to create a touring installation that marks ten years of pushing through my own grief, while sharing personal rituals for survival and modes of coping with loss as a means of engaging with the subject on a universal plain, particularly in the light of a severely painful and disruptive year for us as a nation. How have we survived lockdown? How have we processed the grief of all of those we have lost?
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
The Fandangoe Whip will invite audiences to relive the shared experience of having an ice-cream, an activity not bound by age or area, and from here create a safe space that acts as a way into more complex matters involving our collective mental health in 2021. Fandangoe Whip will use the ice cream van as a vehicle to look at the universality of grief, mental health and trauma as we push through and emerge from the pandemic. Playing with the idea of the ice cream van as a comforting, familiar cultural object, from this ‘known’ space I want to surprise and engage audiences by encouraging a broader platform for dialogue around loss and mental health via the creative programme associated with this immersive public artwork. When I experienced the loss of virtually my entire family in 2011, there were few outlets for handling grief and loss and much of my practice over the last decade has sought to bridge this void. The Fandangoe Whip makes the subject of mental health accessible in 2021.
Steps to get it done:
I want to encourage people to make the connections between the experience of eating something sweet together to the idea of another form of self-care: more fluidity and openness in dialogues around mental health, sadness, and loss. I am sensitive to the potentially triggering nature of my project and I have a vast number of professional mechanisms in place to provide a safe space for visitors, supported by a full schedule of events, talks and workshops to provide a necessary structure. I want people to have an experience that they will remember as both comforting and unfamiliar, that might be shared, diffused and spread within their own networks, families and communities for years to come. I want as many people as possible to engage with my project: those who may not have easy access to galleries, those who may feel, for whatever reason, that they do not ‘belong’ in cultural spaces and those who may feel marginalised by their own experience of grief and loss.
About the space
London Borough of Hackney