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Pippa Thomas: Holding Structures, Carrying Sanctuary

Stillpoint Spaces London, 23 Clerkenwell Close London, EC1R 0AA
The Body


--As my mother and I pass stone and hammer and nail

Between us for hours

Working across

Making water tight 

A rib cage 

A place 

To beat out 

A life



Visit Stillpoint Spaces London for an exhibition of works by artist Pippa Thomas, exploring experiences of displacement, the resistant act of building home, and the gendered roles that come from it.

Catalysed by her own life of constant movement (or, one could say, migration), as well as her grandmother’s life story - in particular her experiences of being interned in Japanese POW camps in Indonesia during the second world war - Pippa’s work explores the weight of expectation on women to ‘build sanctuary’ during times of displacement.

Her work utilises the tension between these two ideas - to ‘build’, and to simultaneously ‘make home’ – through performance and representations of the female body. She uses the female form as a “prop”, positioned in lifting, carrying, holding roles, to rethink the ways that we culturally define homemaking.

In some of her drawings, women’s bodies become frames for structures, the cloth they wear becomes a canopy to cover their outstretched limbs. Morphing into performance, the women build these spaces in threes or fours, holding tenderly, supporting each other.

Having recently spent months helping her family build a new house by hand on the coast of Scotland, Pippa’s construction of home has come full circle, and this ever-growing form is an influential presence within the body of work she has simultaneously produced. Hard material and ephemeral mark-making come together to open a dialogue around what we mean when we say “Home”.

Join us for the opening to view her drawing, video pieces, hear poetry readings, and a short discussion about the artist's work.


PIPPA THOMAS completed a Fine Art degree at Falmouth University in 2013, after beginning her art education at PCAD in Plymouth. Since graduating she has been based in Scotland where she has worked within the care sector: supporting adults with learning disabilities to create art and crafts at Garvald, Edinburgh; and, running a healthy eating programme for individuals with alcohol and drug addictions at LEAP. These challenging jobs expanded her understanding of sanctuary and led her to explore how refuges are generated and the many shapes they can take. She currently resides and practices as an artist in Glasgow.


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