Nicole Mollett

St Margaret's
They Also Shall Return

Nicole Mollett‘s practise includes sculpture drawing and performance. Her work often investigates hidden narratives, and myth. Recent commissions include the mobile artwork called the ‘Kent Baton’, which was part of the Cultural Olympiad touring Kent in the lead up to 2012. Her artwork is held in both Chatham Historic Dockyard collection, and Tunbridge Wells Museum and Gallery. She made works for Turner Contemporary, Historic Royal Palaces,The National Trust, and the Jerwood Drawing Prize. Nicole completed her masters at The Slade School of Art, and has regularly lectured at various universities across the South East.

Associated Museum: St Margaret’s

Associated project: They Also Shall Return

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St Margaret’s

The St Margaret’s Museum, created in memory of Fred Cleary CBE, houses a programme of changing displays on environmental themes, World War Two and local history of the surrounding area and population, including Ian Fleming and Noel Coward. Its collection includes wartime postcards, photos and records of locally found medals and the WW1 amputees’ embroideries. St Margaret’s Museum is run alongside The Pines Garden and The Pines Garden Tea Room by The Bay Trust.
Further information can be found at: http://pinesgarden.co.uk/st-margarets-museum/

The St Margaret's History Society owns and cares for the archives of St Margarets, a village a few miles outside of Dover. The archive contains approximately 12,000 items collected primarily over the last 30 years by the society’s Honorary Archivist Ruth Nicol and her son Keith. It currently consists of around 40 different collections, with themes ranging from Village Bakers and Henry Royce’s development of the first Rolls-Royce aero engine, through to the Coastguard & Smuggling and the White Cliffs’ historic South Foreland Lighthouses. Through grants and donations, the St Margaret's History Society’s volunteers set up a project in 2011 to digitise and create an online catalogue of the collection, in order to make it more widely available to the public.
The online archive and further information can be found at:  http://catalogue.stmargaretshistory.org.uk/

Associated Artist: `Nicole Mollett
Associated Project: They Also Shall Return

 

They Also Shall Return

Cut into the side of the white cliffs and surrounded by farmland, lies St Margarets-at-Cliffe. It is a beautiful place with magnificent views out to sea. During the First World War this small village was surrounded by airfields, 500 soldiers moved in and due to the risk of bombing was subjected to regular blackouts. Everyone living in the village got involved with the war effort, and life became tough.

Nicole Mollett has created a folded drawing entitled ‘They Also Shall Return’ for the St. Margaret's Museum. The work is a visual social anthropological map of the community who lived in the village during the War. The prominent feature of the drawing is the faces of people taken from the photographic archive; the soldiers, their families, the parish council and volunteers. A range of individuals both heroic and humble. The portraits are woven together with fragments of images from the frontline, The War illustrated magazine and St. Margarets Village.

The title is taken from a poem by Lance Corporal Joseph Lee first published in 1917 called The Home- Coming. The poem places those that lost their lives in battle at the centre of its story, and asserts their presence and return ‘A dead man shall stand, at each live man’s hand’. This defiance of their invisibility honours the sacrifice they made.

On top of the cliff stands the war memorial on which is engraved the thirty one names of those soldiers that died during the war. In the archive there is a book containing a hand written list of everyone in the village who contributed to the war effort. There are many faceless names. When researching ideas for the project Nicole was drawn to the WW1 collection of personal postcards and photographs belonging to local families. These artefacts gave a window into the human experience of war.

Although now long gone ‘They Also Shall Return’ challenges the invisibility these people. In the drawing they alive, and present. The work celebrates their dignity and the courage they displayed in the face of adversity.

Associated Artist: Nicole Mollett
Associated Museum: St Margaret's