Installing Fungus Press: Derica Shields ‘like all waiting seeds’

In late April, a glorious thing happens. Every seed that has been waiting under the surface for the last few months, shoots and springs into life. Suddenly, parks, tree-lined streets and pockets of green on roadsides expel positivity and possibilities. There couldn’t be a more apt time, then, for us to be emerging from the inside, and re-opening, re-gathering in and re-seeing the spaces around us. The period of confinement made necessary by COVID has made us even more aware of the importance of these spaces. Our daily walks becoming moments of solace and grass between our toes becoming a way of connecting when connections are fractured.

Outside space isn’t bound by the same inherent rules as inside space. As children, it’s where we are allowed to run around, make noise and be free. When you place artworks outside of buildings and outside of conventional ideas about what ‘art’ is or should be, the viewer interacts differently with them. There’s never been a better time to truly reimagine what the gallery is and what it can do. Turf/Fungus celebrates this.

Derica Shields ‘like all waiting seeds’, is the first work to live at Fungus Press since lockdowns have lifted and is the perfect welcome back. Using her work for the residency as an antidote to the constriction and grief of COVID time, Derica examines feelings of ecstasy. Installing the works was a really positive experience. As we got lost, carrying buckets of wallpaper paste and taking in the sun, we talked about where we grew up, our communities and a yearning for living by the sea. The experience caused me to consider how COVID has shifted our realities; it has slowed us down and made us see new value in the everyday. This new way of thinking was present as we were installing and is something I hope will remain with me in future projects.

Derica Shield’s work will be on display in Wandle Park and Reeves Corner, Croydon until 21 July 2021. I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops, changes and takes on new meaning alongside its natural environment and with the changing seasons.

Thank you for the opportunity Turf!