Henna Asikainen, Louise Barrington, Rosy Naylor, Elspeth Penfold, Stephanie Whitelaw

2020-2022 Salt Science Walking Water

Connecting together five coastal areas around the UK (Swalecliffe, Kent; Holy Island, Northumbria; Scapa Flow, Orkney; Seafield, Edinburgh; Musselburgh Lagoons, East Lothian) the PORT project slowly emerged through the time of the pandemic. 


Artist/curator Rosy Naylor invited five artists to come together and share dialogue around their walking habitats at a time when there were geographical limits upon the distances one could walk. Together a project slowly emerged with consideration and care around each of the five habitats and their commonality. 

Each artist collected the same amount of water from their local sea or river which was then boiled off at Ascus Lab to create salt, with varying colours and quantities resulting; from pure white to polluted brown. 

In 2022 the five artists came together for the first time, leading an in-person walk at Portobello Beach; each artist taking it in turn to pair a section of the walk with their own location. An exhibition at the Art Walk Festival Hub also showed the waters, salts and accompanying site-responsive artworks created by each artist.

About the artists

Henna Asikainen is a multidisciplinary artist. She creates work that questions our complex relationship with nature and its intersections with social justice, climate justice, migration and belonging. Much of Henna’s recent work has been participatory, combining ecological and social issues, and centred on engaging people with lived experience of migration and displacement. 

Louise Barrington is a multi- disciplinary artist based in Orkney using film, dance, textiles and sculpture to focus on the aesthetic and environmental aspects of the landscape experienced over the four seasons. The edge landscapes of Orkney and the in-between moments of dusk, dawn, and twilight, create a restrained colour palette, resonant with the Japanese concept of Ma.

Rosy Naylor is a social practice multi-disciplinary artist, and curator creating projects working with local communities and public spaces, which broaden the viewing experience of art. Her own practice involves walking and lost space, with particular interest in the ephemeral, the edges of seas and city boundaries.

Elspeth (Billie) Penfold is a textile artist who combines walking, weaving and performative storytelling. She hand-spins ropes which are knotted by participants as part of performative events. Billie’s approach to multi- layered storytelling is influenced by her Andean background. Her practice includes many voices, presenting a world view through the indigenous language of Quechua that is relational and complex.

Stephanie Whitelaw cultivates personal engagements with local landscapes, both physical and digital. Working with themes of reciprocity, she explores dialogues with nature in urban and rural contexts, through walking and site-responsive art making. Eco-therapy is woven through her participatory works, building spaces for deeper, collective understanding of our relationship with the natural environment.