Student artist keeps it in the family

An artist who ‘ran away from the circus’ to go to university is showcasing her work on home turf in Staffordshire University’s Degree Show

Eve Travis in front of her work

Eve Travis is paying homage to her mum with the final year exhibit

Going through this process I feel closer to my mum in a different way and feel that I have learned more about her.

Eve Travis, BA (Hons) Fine Art

Eve Travis is one of hundreds of students across Art, Design, Media and Performance courses to exhibit their final year projects in the Degree Show 2022, which is open to the public from Monday 6 to Saturday 11 June.

After travelling the world as a circus performer, Eve, 30 from Newcastle-Under-Lyme, decided to go back to university when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

She said: “I worked in the creative industry for ten years and just wanted to create for creativity’s sake. I dropped out of uni the first time to run away with the circus and then I ran away from the circus to come back to uni!”

In the Fine Art gallery, Eve is paying homage to her mum who studied the same subject at North Staffordshire Polytechnic in the 1970s and has recreated a painting that her mother produced, whilst pregnant with her.

The miniature abstract artwork of a pregnant female form is carefully displayed on a museum-style plinth alongside Eve’s interpretation of the piece; a large patchwork quilt that hangs on the gallery wall.

She explained: “Going through this process I feel closer to my mum in a different way and feel that I have learned more about her. I wanted to manufacture this heirloom to give back to her and decided to make a quilt because I felt that is domestic and homely.”

In another room, Eve has recreated a piece of performance art that her mum made during the same period which is projected onto the wall. Originally featuring Eve’s mother and father with a musical accompaniment by a close friend, these roles have been reprised by Eve, her partner and best friend who is also a musician with a reworked version of the song.

Eve said: “When I came into my final year, I started thinking about the art performances that my mum told me about years ago and that there is no documentation of. I have these memories of memories that aren’t within my lived experience and I have this myth of my mother that revolves around being at this institution that I am now also at.

“I was seeking connection with this mum that I didn’t know before she became a mum. I feel that she gave up art to be a mother, so I wanted to remake one of her performances and gift it to her.”

Eve will reveal her recreations to her mum this week during the Degree Show and will film her reaction and their conversations.

She added: “I decided not to ask my mum for any finer details, so I’ve made it based on this memory of a re-telling. What is interesting is that it will be wrong but it will be mine and it will be hers all at the same time.”

The Degree Show 2022 is open to the public from Monday 6 June to Saturday 11 June. Car parking is available on our Leek Road site and parking charges have been lifted for the duration of the degree show.

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