Photo: Maya Ramsay in London

Maya Ramsay


Maya Ramsay works with historically and politically important sites, usually those that are due to be demolished or renovated- capturing visual histories that would otherwise be lost. A unique process is used to lift off the top layer of surfaces from the built environment and to re-present these slices of surroundings. 

For the past six years the focus has been on 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 shortlisted for the international Artraker Award for Art and Conflict. An exhibition of the shortlisted works is touring from London- Colombo- Myanmar during 2015.

Recent projects include BLETCHLEY PARK (STATION X) in which surfaces were lifted from the walls of the derelict buildings where the Code-breakers worked during World War 11 at Bletchley Park, prior to the buildings renovation. These buildings had lain derelict for decades awaiting repair and were hugely evocative of internationally important histories. The works include surfaces lifted from one of the buildings where the walls were covered in a myriad of cobwebs that had become carbonised during a fire.

The JIMI HENDRIX (WALL OF SOUND) project involved making graphite rubbings of the woodchip wallpaper in Jimi Hendrix’s London home at 23 Brook Street, prior to the buildings renovation. As if by magic, the wall rubbings 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, akin to a suite of music, were performed as part of the London Jazz festival in Handel’s rehearsal room where he composed the Messiah. Two additional works 'Night Bird Flying (Murmuration)' and 'Through The Haze (Visionaries)' consider the fact that both Hendrix and Handel had visions whilst living at Brook Street. Hendrix’s home is due to open as a museum in 2016 and the wallpaper scores will be performed at the opening of the museum on 13/01/16  They will be exhibited as part of EMERGENCY at Aspex Gallery from 27/11/15- 11/01/16 .

Maya is currently working on COUNTLESS- making work from gravestones in relation to the unkown numbers of migrants who have died trying to reach Europe by boat, and articles in relation to this for ‘a/political’ and ‘Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture’. 

Further works can be seen at:

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