Photo: Maya Ramsay in London

Maya Ramsay


I use a process to lift off the top layer of surfaces from the built environment and to re-present these slices of our surroundings. I work with historically and politically important sites, usually those that are due to be demolished- capturing visual histories that would otherwise be lost.

For the past six years I have been working on an ongoing project entitled WALL TALK which involves lifting surfaces from sites that have a historical relationship to armed conflict. These works reference the idea of walls as witnesses to atrocities. The project was recently shortlisted for the international Artraker Award for Art and Conflict.

Other recent projects include STATION X in which I lifted surfaces from the walls of the derelict buildings where the Code-breakers worked during World War 11 at Bletchley Park. These buildings had lain derelict for decades awaiting renovation and were hugely evocative of internationally important histories. I lifted surfaces from one of the buildings where the walls were covered in a myriad of cobwebs that had become carbonised during a fire. 

My most recent project WALL OF SOUND involved making wall rubbings of the woodchip wallpaper in Jimi Hendrix’s London home- which, as if by magic, came out looking like music notation.

Hendrix’s home is next-door to where the composer Handel lived 200 years earlier and it is said that Hendrix saw visions of Handel in the woodchip wallpaper of his flat. The wallpaper scores are composed of abstract marks created by graphite rubbings of the woodchip wallpaper on to blank manuscript paper. Their similarity to music notation allows the viewer to imagine the sound that Hendrix’s walls might make. The five sections are akin to a suite of music and were recently performed as part of the London Jazz festival in Handel’s rehearsal room where he composed the Messiah. I sometimes work in collaboration with sound artists who capture the sounds of the sites in which I’m working, or in the case of the Hendrix project perform a musical interpretation of my work.

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Location London
Tags walls, architecture, surface, political art, war, collateral damage, armed conflict