The neon is currently installed at the famous Leadenhall Market, London, as part of the 9th edition of Sculpture in the City. Originally commissioned in 2014, the neon travelled around the city of Bristol, moving quarterly for two and a half years, with each location determined by the Bristol public voting online and suggesting new locations. First installed in London’s Leadenhall Market for Sculpture in the City June 2018, its stay has now been extended for another year.
During the summer, Badham will engage with the local community and the visitors to the gallery to contribute a translation of I’M STAYING in their native languages. The artist will then transcribe those translations, using acrylic and watercolour ink on paper, into an Election Font, the same he used when producing the neon. The artworks will gradually fill the walls of the gallery.
Accompanying the project will be a selection of artworks by Güler Ates, Yelena Popova and Joanna Rajkowska that address such issues like power, democracy, immigration, value. Also on display will be I’M STAING Currency limited edition prints by Shaun C. Badham.
What makes a place a home?
Shaun C. Badham’s artistic practice often centres around the community he lives in. The I’M STAYING neon was commissioned by Artnolfini in Bristol in 2014 and travelled around the city of Bristol for two and a half years changing locations via public voting. The public was choosing places that had value for them and their community. To some the statement ‘I’m staying’ was a provocation, while to others anaffirmation.
As the British political landscape shifted during the neon’s travels around Bristol, its discourse began to widen with a more significant political and social reading, especially as its final launch at a local Bristol bar coincided with the EU Referendum. The neon then disappeared for 2 years becoming more politically poignant as time went on, all the while stored in crates, awaiting the right opportunity to be presented once again. In 2018 the neon arrived at its new home in Leadenhall Market, right in the City of London, the home of UK politics in nearby Westminster.
The neon has always been defined by its context and could be read as a statement for the 13th century Leadenhall Market’s defiance in surviving large amounts of development in the surrounding area. Since the Referendum, however, Brexit has become the primary conversation around the neon.Using online response, many individuals have been using the statement as a personal expression of their wish to remain in the UK. Above all, the neon expresses the sentiment that we all have a right to call a place home whether it is the place of our birth or not. Badham has called many places home throughout his life, from Essex, to Bristol, to Spain, to London, each entrenched in his personal narrative.
Badham has recently commenced a new segment of the I’M STAYING project which is about addressing this broad discourse the neon is generating. He intends to translate the statement ‘I’m staying’ into as many languages as he can by engaging with people within London community. The aim is to find a common ground by sharing a short moment to discuss what makes London their home. It is a city in which over 300 languages are spoken on a daily basis which is a strong reminder of the fact that often people have more than one home and that the I’M STAYING project could exist anywhere in the world.