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Hilary Jack: No Borders

Formal Garden

No Borders (2018) is a white neon text work by Hilary Jack that reads NO BORDERS JUST HORIZONS ONLY FREEDOM. These are the words of Amelia Earhart (b.1897; missing presumed dead 1937), the pioneering and much celebrated American aviator who was the first woman, and only the second person, to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Persistently pushing boundaries, Earhart was a strident supporter of opportunities and rights for women. She also founded an organisation for female pilots known as the Ninety-Nines, and created a range of practical clothing for “the woman who lives life actively”. At the time she vanished without trace during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1937, she was one of the most famous women in the world and remains a feminist icon.
Earhart’s words are still very relevant today. In using them in this work, Jack shows how they can be read in the light of contemporary politics, as controversy continues around issues such as Brexit, the Irish border, and Scottish Independence, as well as global issues including migration, border crossings, citizenship and personal freedoms. Many of these debates have polarised countries and communities. In large neon letters, Jack’s bold interpretation of Earhart’s hopeful message stands as a rallying call to unify people, emphasising what unites us, rather than the things that divide us.

No Borders was first commissioned for Jack’s solo exhibition The Messenger at Borders Sculpture Park, based at Mellerstain House in the Scottish Borders, where she also made work celebrating the life of one of its former residents, Lady Grizel Baillie (b.1665 –d.1746). Both works explore Jack’s interest in marking and making visible the achievements of strong and determined women.
Hilary Jack works across various media in research based projects, site referential artworks, and sculptural installations and interventions. Her work has an activist element, often commenting on the politics of place and the impact of human activity on the planet. She has exhibited across the UK and internationally, and is Co-director of Paradise Works artist-led studios in Manchester.