Rhiannon Adam’s complex artist book is based on her three-months stay on [Pitcairn] island…It is an impressive in-depth research project that pictures Pitcairn as a place of stark contrast: a romantic natural paradise on the one hand and an isolated small human community with dark secrets on the other.
The Pitcairn Islands are Britain’s last Overseas Territory in the Pacific Ocean. Pitcairn Island itself (25°4′0″S, 130°6′0″W) is the only inhabited island in the group,
In 1790 it became home to a group of fugitives; those responsible for the most famous mutiny in history aboard HMS Bounty, led by Fletcher Christian. (...) For many outside observers, trusting in Hollywood's romanticised adaptations of the 'Bounty' story, Pitcairn epitomises Utopia. A land of milk and honey under the Pacific skies – always just out of reach, but vivid in the mind’s eye.
In 2004, this façade slipped, when a series of child sexual abuse allegations emerged. The British investigation, Operation Unique, uncovered decades of abuse. Abuse that had been festering in plain sight. The Pitcairn trials led to the convictions of eight Pitcairn men, including several former island officials and the then-mayor Steve Christian, whose home, ‘Big Fence’, forms the title of this project.
In 2015, Rhiannon Adam, inspired by a childhood gift of The Mutiny on The Bounty and a desire to capture the island’s fragility on expiring analogue film, made the long journey to Pitcairn Island. Due to the quarterly shipping schedule, she remained trapped on the island for 96 nights.
Designed to be as impenetrable and complex as the island itself, the book is comprised of two parts: Adam’s own experience of the island as related through her captions and personal stories, and a volume of photographs and related archive.