A new two-hour walking route winds around the streets of Eastbourne, demarcated by a jagged chalk-stencilled rope. The looping, twisting path might seem random in its course, but its purposeful twists and turns in fact trace the outline of a woman’s profile. The woman that it represents lived over 1,000 years ago and was buried in the nearby Anglo-Saxon cemetery at St Anne’s Hill. Excavation of her grave in the 1990s uncovered not only her remains but also a diverse array of grave goods. Sculptures of these objects are woven into the tour, the most elaborate of which – a hairpin – can be found at Whitbread Hollow on the South Downs. Inscribed in chalk, the hairpin is meant to mirror the nearby hill figure, the Long Man of Wilmington.
In this new interactive work of art, titled Walking through the town I followed a pattern on the pavement that became the magnified silhouette of a woman’s profile, Mariana Castillo Deball – a Mexican artist based in Berlin – integrates art with archaeology, weaving together the area’s history with the sights of modern Eastbourne.
Describing the artwork, Mariana Castillo Deball said: ‘It’s an opportunity to do something that appears monumental but at the same time is very simple. It’s a drawing on a scale that I never imagined I’d be able to do, but which at the same time is not invasive and is made out of materials that will fade back into the environment.’
Commissioned by Towner Eastbourne, an art gallery in the town’s cultural centre, the outdoor artwork will run until 12 November. It is a Waterfronts project within England’s Creative Coast, an initiative spanning Essex, Kent, and East Sussex with the aim of creating new outdoor cultural experiences that connect art with the landscape and local history. Mariana is also curating an exhibition at Towner Eastbourne – A drawing, a story, and a poem go for a walk – which will run until 16 January 2022. For more information, see www.townereastbourne.org.uk.