Kern Baby, A Child For Sacrifice – Faye Claridge


Kern Baby, 2015 in the grounds of Compton Verney (c) Faye Claridge


Until 7 June a giant corn dolly measuring 15 foot will stand in the foyer of the Library of Birmingham. The sculpture was created by artist Faye Claridge, who uses archives, folklore and reminiscence to examine our past relationships and our current sense of national and personal identity.

Claridge was commissioned by GRAIN, initially through a Turning Point West Midlands residency in 2012/13, and has worked extensively with the Library of Birmingham’s Benjamin Stone Collection, an archive of over 22,000 prints amassed by the MP and self-taught photographer who lived from 1838 to 1914. The giant ‘Kern Baby’ is a version of a harvest figure photographed in 1902 by Sir Benjamin Stone. Throughout 2015 the sculpture stood in the grounds of Compton Verney.

Stone’s obsession was to ‘record history with the camera’ for future generations and Claridge questions how we can approach such an ambition today. Her work asks how our sense of self, geography, community and time can be formed through the celebration of repeated and adapted customs.