During Spring 2014, Artist, Monica d. Church, along with her family, circumnavigated the world on the 50th anniversary voyage of The University of Virginia's Semester at Sea Program. This portfolio features photographs from the exhibition, 24,000 Nautical Miles: Photos from a Circumnavigation held at Vassar College's Palmer Gallery in September 2014.
During Spring 2014, I was a participant in the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea program, circumnavigating the world in 112 days on a passenger ship, the M.V. Explorer. I traveled to Vietnam, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mauritius, India, Myanmar, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco and South Hampton experiencing the industrialization of the waters as well as the beauty and the vastness of the sea. After crossing the Pacific Ocean from California to Japan, I began a daily documentation and meditation of the sea from my window cabin, 4099.
This series of collages were made during Spring 2014 on my voyage around the world. While in each port, I would look for handmade papers and collect found materials like matchbooks, tickets, plastic bags, wrapping paper etc...while at sea I would work in my cabin in my makeshift studio creating collages. As the journey progressed I had more and more papers to select from. Papers are from Hawaii, Japan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, England and Ireland.
In 1992, while living in Hanoi, Vietnam, I created a series of collages entitled, From the Streets of Hanoi. This work evolved from seeking out bits of trash and paper that I collected daily. Post war Vietnam was relatively poor, so finding scraps to work with was often difficult. Eventually, I ended up buying some of the only paper readily available—Joss Papers — purchased on Hanoi’s Hang Ma Street in the Old Quarter. The joss papers— or ghost money— is burned to venerate ancestors. I also used receipts, toilet paper, plastic bags, lottery tickets, pages from old soviet books and watercolors. Originally individual pieces of art, this series has been transformed into an installation for the Conflict, Destruction, Renewal: Contemporary Artists on War exhibition in the Palmer Gallery at Vassar College. The work’s fragility is reminiscent of a society rebuilding and suffering from war yet moving on despite material hardship. Visitors were invited to take a Joss Paper from the small table.