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During a recent conversation artists, Ben Cook & Andy Hughes discovered they both had been making work which included the form of a Gannet. On a sunny day in October 2018, they both met at Praa Sands on the Cornish coast and conversed some more whilst installing and creating artworks. 

Local fishermen call them ‘Saithor’ meaning ‘arrow’ in old Cornish. Long, thin, arrow-like birds, diving into the sea from a great height and reappearing seconds later with their unsuspecting prey clasped firmly between their jaws. The Gannet’s expert vertical entry to the surface of the sea and their swim speed underwater allows them to feed a voracious appetite. Their superlative fish catching technique transfixes the fishermen as they watch jealously from the boat. The expression ‘greedy like a gannet’ is well known and is applied to someone or something that is seen to be taking advantage of or using more than their fair share of limited resources. Humanity’s current reliance on oil as a commodity is having disastrous implications for our survival as a species. Our voracious appetite or greed for oil is polluting our atmosphere, creating the Anthropocene and changing the climate in many dangerous ways.

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Saithor (The Gannet) 2017, found object, fabricated steel and used 20/50 sump oil. Ben Cook © 2018

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Andy Hughes pouring sump oil on his photograph 'Gannet'

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Ben Cook preparing 'Saithor', Praa Sands, Cornwall 2018

Gannet
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Ben Cook preparing 'Saithor', Praa Sands, Cornwall 2018
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Andy Hughes creating 'Gannet, Praa Sands, Cornwall 2018
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Gannet, Perranporth Beach © 2014  | Large Format C-Type, 100 cms
Andy Hughes
Oiled 'Gannet',  Praa Sands, Cornwall 2018

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