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Illustration

Pat Wingshan Wong

Pat Wingshan Wong (also known as Flyinpig) is a Hong Kong community-based visual artist currently living and working in London. She has exhibited at art museums and organisations, including Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Art, the Hong Kong Museum of Art (HKMOA), West Kowloon Cultural District, M+ and the Hong Kong Science Museum. Her works have been included in the Hong Kong Museum of Art's collection.

Her recent project Barter Archive: Billingsgate Fish Market (2019–ongoing) is funded by Arts Council England, the Varley Memorial Award (2020), and Hong Kong Art Development Council. Pat is also the co-president of Walkative Society (2020), which she co-founded during her time at the RCA.

Pat’s practice lies in the intersections of architecture, memory and identity. The emotional significance of an architectural space, its relation to personal memory and the collapse of time are the central themes. Her illustrations portray community stories, which range from people to landscapes and objects, and are evocative meditations on urban development and its public and personal significance.

'Hi Everyone! Welcome to Barter Archive. I am Sammy, the seal from Billingsgate Fish Market. I am honoured today to be your tour guide to introduce to you the Barter Archive and Barter Outlet', said Sammy the Seal.

Barter Archive is a two-year community-led archive constructed by our guv’nor, Pat Wingshan Wong, in collaboration with the fishmongers at Billingsgate Fish Market. The archive engages with the idea of barter, both physically and symbolically. It includes memorable objects ‘bartered’ by the artist using her observational drawings of the happenings in the space, as well as videos that document stories and memories of the people she finds there. Due to the rapid city development at Canary Wharf, the City of London Corporation announced a relocation plan which will move the market to Dagenham, an industrial suburb, in the next five years. Pat has since sought to construct an archive to preserve the collective memory of the Billingsgate community and challenge the domination of capitalism, questioning the ways value is assigned through culture and society.

As the first exhibition of Barter Archive, Barter Outlet is newly opened in Piggy's Cafe, inside Billingsgate Fish Market. The pop-up outlet brings different personalities of the fishmongers into the space, showcasing the multiple voices and diverse cultures within the market. Transforming the working space into an exhibition with performances, our guv’nor sees the performances as celebrating the lives, communities and cultures within the fish market. It invites the public to contemplate the significance of the space and work together to create narratives at the intersection of live events and archived documents. While restaging the tradition of the market and recalling its collective memory, the exhibition also explores the relationship between the artist and the fishmongers, as well as the public. 

Barter Archive, 2019–ongoing, Pat Wingshan Wong London
Barter Archive, 2019–ongoing, Pat Wingshan Wong London

Since October 2019, guv’nor Pat Wingshan Wong immersed herself in Billingsgate Fish Market every morning at 5am (Tuesday to Saturday). Through her observational sketches, she has opened up conversations with the fishmongers there. Her sketches are never equal to their memories, the process is more important – how artist and fishmonger make the exchanges through the barter of sketch and object – as well as mutual trust. In Barter Archive, part of the role of the archiver is transferred to the person who was archived, in order to experience the interaction and cooperation between both parties.

Billingsgate Fish Market in Canary Wharf will move to Dagenham Dock, along with Smithfield Meat Market and New Spitalfields, as part of a new development opening in 2027. This is the second relocation for Billingsgate, which moved from its original location by the Thames in the City of London in 1982. 

www.barter-archive.com

@barter_archive

Outlet trading hours: 07:00–10:00, 26 June – 10 July 2021
Outlet trading hours: 07:00–10:00, 26 June – 10 July 2021 — Piggy's Cafe, Billingsgate Fish Market, London E14 5ST
Barter Outlet Open House, 26 June, Promotion Video: Sammy the Seal — '*Bang, bang, bang!* on the side of the dock, here I come! Did you miss me?’ asks Sammy the Seal. ‘Well, I will be back again for one morning only at Piggy Cafe on Saturday 26 June. Get your salmon ready for a selfie with me at the photobooth. No salmon, no deal!’, says Sammy.
Barter Outlet poster (design by Europa), 2021 — 'You can now see the posters everywhere in the fish market!', says Sammy.
Barter Outlet Open House invitation (design by Europa), 2021
Barter Outlet Open House invitation (design by Europa), 2021 — 'We keep sending out invitation cards to all the Billingsgate fishmongers and friends! Are you waiting to receive one?', says Sammy.
'Bring the fish and meet me on 26 June in the Barter Outlet Open House! No salmon, no deal!', says Sammy. — Barter Outlet Open House: Saturday 26 June 2021, 08:30 - 10:30. Piggy Cafe, Billingsgate Fish Market, London E14 5ST.

Welcome one and all! As the first exhibition of Barter Archive, Barter Outlet is Billingsgate Fish Market’s most trusted and exciting marketplace for our guv’nor Pat Wingshan Wong’s wares. Embracing the culture of barter/banter in the market, the Barter Outlet will open shop in the market’s own Piggy Cafe.

The outlet will feature 70 observational sketches of the fish market created by Pat. It invites the public to exchange their memories of the market with the sketches on display. At the Open House, it will engage with a wide range of activities designed together by Pat and the fishmongers. The public activities include the Oyster Olympics, short films and live performances by the fishmongers, and a surprise guest appearance of Sammy the Seal.

The cafe, as a community hub, is where Pat started to meet people through her sketches, opening up conversations with the fishmongers. The Barter Outlet engages with the fishmongers’ language, for example, barter and banter, and initiates a series of encounters and discussions at the cafe. Barter Outlet is a collaborative process, which incorporates the fishmongers’ concerns about how collective memory could be transformed and presented to the public, shifting the emphasis from the artist’s work to realising the impact that a community has on the way we live.

‘When I first stepped in the market, I discovered the strong community bond here in Billingsgate. However, the market will relocate to Dagenham in 2027. How can I trade in these invaluable memories? I started to barter my sketches for the memorable objects from the fishmongers. I believe transparent negotiation can build up the reputation of my company, and trust is the key to the success of my business. We aim to benefit not only ourselves but also the Billingsgate Fish Market community.’ said our guv' nor Pat.

Barter Outlet: Billingsgate Fish Market

Piggy Cafe, Billingsgate Fish Market, E14 5ST

Outlet trading hours: 26 June - 6 July 2021, 08:30 - 10:30

Outlet Open House: Saturday 26 June 2021, 08:30 - 10:30

Barter Roadshow: Saturday 26 June 2021, 10:30 - 12:00.

Online registration: https://bit.ly/3iohkPg

Acknowledgements: My foremost thanks to the Billingsgate Fish Market community for their generous hospitality and boundless trust in this project. I am deeply grateful for the conversations with my tutors from the Royal College of Art, including Jessie Brennan, Hilary Powell, Debbie Cook, Peter Nencini and Tracey Waller.

National Lottery Project Grants, Art Council England