Sinéid Codd: ‘from the archipelago’

Sinéid Codd: The Vagina Islands of the archipelago (2021) plaster and pigment, 9h x 16w x 13d cm (variable edition of 10) ‘Found recently at the outer edge of the archipelago, the Vagina Islands are the most colourful we have come upon so far in our navigation through this Lilliputian world. Our geologist and archaeologist inform us that all of these islands were formed from precious objects that were lost by humans.’ (field report, 2021)

Living on the coast, Sinéid Codd is drawn to the ever changing nature of the sea and its’ transitory relationship with the edges of land. Her ongoing work, ‘a fuller acquaintance with the archipelago’ responds to the times we have been living through since 2016 and invites the viewer to navigate a co-created Lilliputian world inhabited by fossilised and fragile cast sculptures, as a series of abandoned islands, created by the sea.

“My work is a response to time and place through curiosity and my fascination with found objects. Play is at the heart of my practice, which encompasses sculpture, photography and painting, often brought together in site-responsive installations that invite inquisitiveness.” 

For her installation, ‘from the archipelago’ with Small House: due to our climate emergency and coastal erosion, the House, now an abandoned home, has fallen off the cliff. A transformation of scale has taken place: the topsy-turvy house has been taken over by miniature islands who feel larger within its confines and safer from the turbulent seas.  


Sinéid Codd is an interdisciplinary artist and educator with a long history of socially engaged practice. Her work encompasses sculpture, photography and painting, often brought together in site-responsive installations. She studied MA Printmaking, Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London (2014-16) and Fine Art BA, Winchester School of Art (1976-79). She is a freelance artist educator with the De La Warr Pavilion.  

Recent solo installations: ‘a fuller acquaintance with the archipelago’, Observer Building, Hastings (2020); ‘as small as the world and as large as alone.’ at Project 78 Gallery, St Leonards on Sea (2019); ‘between skylight and dust’, (two person), hARTslane, London, 2019. 

Group exhibitions include: International Printmaking Arts Research Centre, Macao, China (2018); ‘ Genesis Light Magic’ with Peer Social, St Johns Church, Bethnal Green (2018); Small Print International touring exhibition, England (2017); ARTSevilla Art Fair (2016). 

Recent awards: Alpine Fellowship (shortlisted 2021); a-n Artist Bursary 2020 and 2019; Artquest’s Peer Forum at Cubitt with fellow Peer Social Artists (2018); London Creative Network placement, SPACE, London (2017). Arts Council England funded ‘The Hastings Rarities Affair’ Hastings Museum & Art Gallery (2010); her works have also been funded by, amongst others, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Publicity includes review on BBC’s Costing the Earth and, as a member of ‘The All Ladies Number One Brush Team’, interviews with Ian Drury on Metro Arts LWT TV; Philip Core on LBC Radio and BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. 

The genesis of this show

“A miniature within a miniature. A dolls house installation within a dolls house installation…

My work is a response to time and place through curiosity and my fascination with found objects. Play is at the heart of my interdisciplinary practice, which encompasses sculpture, photography and painting, often brought together in site-responsive installations that invite inquisitiveness.

Several years ago, I began gathering glass animals, in memory of seeing them on a glass shelf at my aunts’ house when very young. At some point, the animals moved into a Dolls House, where a doll was in charge. Keeping order became too much for her and she moved out.

[A work I showed in 2010, called] ‘Animals House’ was a collision of childhood memories of play and the desire to snoop through windows on dark winter nights. Vividly colourful glass animals shared a home. They swam on the sofa, slept in the fridge and had sex in the kitchen. No one was in charge of this playful anarchy. Viewer become voyeur.

Sinéid Codd: Animals House (2010) photos by Barry Lewis

(Animals House was shown in the ‘Collections’ exhibition, Arthur Greens Outfitters, Hastings, 2010) 

[Initially, I proposed to recreate this work.]

In ‘Animals House, Revisited’ a group of glass animals have decided to hold an exhibition of photographs from their previous performative installation. Of course, some of them will need to be onsite to look to check that nothing is in order.”

But when the time for Sinéid’s Small House Gallery show approached, she realised that her practice had moved on, and the Animals House Revisited show, proposed more than a year prior, wouldn’t reflect her current practice and concerns. She had already begun making the Archipelago series of plaster-cast sculptures in 2016, and in particular, since 2021, the Vagina Islands, and the mythologies within the work had been steadily, playfully, organically developing apace, so she decided to suggest a scenario whereby the Archipelago had grown up, into, and through the foundations of a house which had fallen off a crumbling chalk cliff and gone crashing down onto the rocks below, landing half in and out of the sea. In this context the islands resemble a coral reef with barnacles colonising an old wreck.

Then, when Sinéid visited Eldi in the Small House’s ‘curation kitchen’ home in South London, heavy suitcase of islands and sand from coastal town in tow, she climbed up the stepladder onto the sturdy table to begin installing in the house in situ, and in the process of unpacking, discovered that the glass animals had stowed themselves into bubble wrap and tissue paper and hitched a train ride to London! When they got caught, they insisted that they be included in this new version of the Small House/Archipelago series show as well. They were so charmingly insistent, in their completely pacifistic way, that Eldi and Sinéid couldn’t help but acquiesce. (No coercive threats were made of cutting anyone by their sharp edges. In fact, some of the creatures had sacrificed their own fin, tail or tentacle in the process of getting to London. How could they be refused? The glass refugees were made to feel welcomed here. If only the present government would agree to treat human refugees thus hospitably.)

And so, here we are, and here they are.
Insta: @sineidcodd


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: