Jon Tonks – Empire
6 June – 15 August
Empire is a fascinating journey across the South Atlantic exploring life on four remote islands – the British Overseas Territories of Ascension Island, Tristan da Cunha, the Falkland Islands and St. Helena. These distant places are relics of the once formidable British Empire, all intertwined through their shared history.
Photographer Jon Tonks spent up to a month at a time in each territory, travelling 60,000 miles around the Atlantic via military outposts, low-lit airstrips and a long voyage aboard the last working Royal Mail Ship. Some 400 rolls of film, 24 flights and 32 days at sea later, the resulting work creates an insight that resonates with a sense of Britishness which is remarkably recognisable yet inescapably strange.
West Midlands born, Jon has photographed the people, the landscapes and the traces of the past embedded within each territory and through short texts, which combine history and anecdote, he tells the story of these remote and remarkable islands. His motivation is neither political nor nostalgic, the images arising primarily from his curiosity about the lives of these distant lands that remain very firmly British.
Empire is co-produced by mac birmingham, the Library of Birmingham, Ffotogallery, Cardiff, Grain Photography Hub and Impressions Gallery, Bradford.
Tea & Cake Tuesday / Tues 9 June / 11.00am – 4.00pm / Free – drop in
Artist talk / Fri 5 June / 6.00 – 7.00pm / Free
Exhibition opening / Fri 5 June / 7.00 – 8.30pm