Film & Solo Exhibition at Norwich Castle, UK.
Britannia is a meditation on the artist’s English ancestry, offering a moment of reflection on our relationship with ourselves, our past and our environment. This new film is an intimate portrait of the symbolic character Britannia, a figure deeply woven into the nation’s identity.
Born in London and moving constantly around the country as a child, Golding was exposed to contrasting and often conflicting English communities. Golding’s fondness for these different worlds, and the sometimes invisible and unexpected ways in which they depended on each other, continues to inform his work today.
In this new film, Golding offers a personal reframing of England’s pre-colonial past, exploring the impact traumatic periods in English history had on those who survived them; the hidden emotional wounds that may still linger, and how these experiences impact on the present. Borrowing from the healing practices undertaken by communities across the globe, Golding casts a compassionate eye on his ancestry, and asks whether the pain, anxiety, and stress which is often palpable in present-day society is, in fact, rooted in this past.
Through the figure of Britannia, Golding explores ideas around how nostalgia and amnesia can function, and how these emotions might inhibit understanding and compassion. The idea of a psychological split in the self is folded into a broader reflection on the lingering effects of intergenerational rupture; witnessed in repeated cycles of threat and detachement.
Golding invites us to consider Norwich Castle as the location for the work’s presentation, in a building, city, and region, which has borne witness to periods of conflict in English history such as uprisings and revolt, and the Castle’s use now as museum, gallery and wedding venue.
Commissioned by Norfolk Museums Service with additional support from Autograph and Film and Video Umbrella. Commission made possible with support from Art Fund.
Running time approx. 12 minutes
30 September 2023 – 14 January 2024