Sunday 24 March 2024

Lesley Cartwright - Translocation and Dislocation (words by Dom O'Reilly)

Welcome to the Translocation and Dislocation exhibition, a selection of eclectic artworks that have been placed or screened beyond the tradition gallery walls. Alongside the art, you can read written works by our First Responders. We will choose a different location for each artwork, the art might be placed in a complementary location (to add to the narrative) or juxtaposed against a competing backdrop to create new meaning.

The floating world of Lesley Cartwright has been caught in a bush beside a road, as the cars rush by the inhabitants of this gentle world wave back. It is a space that captures the imagination of passing passengers, a dreamcatcher for the modern motorist. The words below are from Dom O'Reilly.

Lesley Cartwright

First Responder: Dom O'Reilly

The Clangers had been happy inside their empty and isolated world until a Rover from Earth looking for Mars had broadcast ‘No music on a dead planet’ by the Soup Dragons to speak to the out there folk. 

As the Soup Dragon fed them, the Clangers saw this as a divine announcement. Well, they would have done had they known of divinity. They asked themselves what was ‘music’ and ‘dead’ for Clangers are immortal unless they unravel themselves. It is why they consume so much tea, for without it they are immoral.

They set off for Earth in search of music and death and the answers each would bring. Since they operate as a hive mind the Clangers felt at home when they landed in London and saw everyone linked by the same phone, tattoos, trainers and haircut. 

They saw people sitting down in unison to a song that spoke of individualism but provoked groupthink. They eagerly sought out where they could be absorbed into this collectivism.

Scuttering along guttering they had an epiphany, a moment of existential realisation, when they saw a young woman emerging from a building with bundles of wool, crocheting for the use of. 

They stared themselves, at the wool and back and forth. This must be the Creator, the one who made all Clangers. 

Following her back to her small, overpriced room in Bermondsey, they saw her bed covered in what looked like Clanger DNA, patch after patch of crocheted wool in the same pattern. 

The woman saw them and, being both originally minded and part of the cult of Taylor Swift she could understand the language and mentality of the Clangers. They found it was a giant bedspread in honour of Taylor Swift and, after hearing the young woman speak for three hours nonstop on being a Swifty, they knew this was where they belonged. 

In an act of mass rebirth, they unravelled themselves so they could become part of the bedspread. There, they would be joined with something bigger than themselves and yet still be as one.

All except one Clanger.

She had spotted the chance to be an individual and to offer hope and encouragement to those who felt the same. Bidding farewell to her fellow Clangers and the young woman, she left the gastrogentrification behind and found a simple tree in a quiet area. 

There she learned by observing. The birds taught her how to lay eggs. She gave sanctuary to an orange frog who had been lured from its home by a flood that quickly receded. She had a toy phone, to remind herself to avoid addiction to the real ones.

As with so many before her, she came to London and integrated without needing to assimilate. 

She sees herself as a ‘Reverse Rover’ – sending a signal to attract to Earth those in out there land who want to be individuals. 


Lesley Cartwright made her name in the commercial graphic field and music photography until she developed MS and now creates magic artworks from her Billericay studio. She is a multitalented artist who is not bound by genre nor convention. Cartwright has been exhibiting with CollectConnect since the Cardboard City exhibition in 2013.

As a journalist Dom O'Reilly reported from 26 countries from Afghanistan to Serbia covering everything from Olympics to revolutions. He wrote for newspapers which included The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Toronto Globe & Mail, Glasgow Herald and Sunday Herald and The Scotsman and Sunday on Sunday. Dom is currently exploring new avenues for his creativity, we are hoping he'll be a regular contributor to the CollectConnect exhibitions.

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