Agnes Poitevin-Navarre’s forthcoming exhibition, “Fellow Artists – Fellow Muses”
from 11/11/2011 until 26/11/2011 at King’s College Cambridge Art Centre,Cambridge,


Your greatest achievement?

The most important lesson life has taught you?

Your postcode/village?
[It can be work, home or any other postcode as long as it is within Cambridge]


Please email answers to

Do you live, study, work, entertain in central Cambridge and surrounding villages, ie. Coton, Newnham, Chesterton, Milton, Trumpington, Cherry Hinton, Romsey Town, Grantchester?

The parameters of the map currently include postcodes CB1, CB2, CB3, CB4, CB5, CB24 9, CB24 6, CB24 3, CB25 9, CB23 7, CB23 8, CB22 5, CB21 5.

Please reply to the abridged version of The Questionnaire de Proust party game above in order to participate in a feel good art project that will be shown at the King’s College Cambridge Art Centre in November 2011, that’s next month!!! So please answer before FRIDAY 21st October.

Your answers can be personal or professional, light or deep, mundane or truly exceptional.

As the identity of the participants remains anonymous, contributions are open to interpretation, stimulating the imagination of the audience.

That is an integral part of the project.

I did a similar project in London and people from all walks of life contributed.

The anonymity element allows the contributors to be true to themselves at the source.

It also prevents the audience from making judgment based on gender, race and creed downstream.

Originally a party game from the French Belle Epoque era, Le Questionnaire de Proust gives great insights into the psyche of the respondents.

Marcel Proust, author of “In Search of Lost Time” made such an impact when he participated twice that the Questionnaire was named after him.
I will be honoured to share your words of wisdom.

agnes poitevin-navarre

The Proustian Map of London – Land of Achievement

In 2010, The Proustian Map of London – Land of Achievement was exhibited at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR.

The Creative Mapping, a two-women exhibition was viewed until 2nd July 2010. Agnes and Susan Stockwell showed iconic pieces such as the Proustian Map of London, Fellow Artists/Fellow Muses and the Money Dress.

Agnes’ artist talk happened on Wednesday 16th June at 18.30 /Susan’s Talk on Tuesday 22nd June at 18.30 or to purchase a copy of the catalogue, please contact the RGS on 020 7591 3030 or email


Creative Compass show at the Royal Geographical Society, 6 May – 2 July 2010

Notes on the Creative Compass show at the Royal Geographical Society, 6 May – 2 July 2010, Monday – Friday, 10.00 – 17.00 free admission.
The exhibition is now extended until 10 August 2010.

1 – Site specific version of the “Proustian Map of London – Land of Achievement”.
The scaling of the iconic diamond shape of London to fit within the wall specifications has been a great challenge. The wall is 6 m long and 4 metre tall so the viewing of the northern quarters necessitate the use of binoculars.

Themes: celebration of personal achievements, feel good factor, diversity and universality of the human condition, sense of community, geographical inclusion/exclusion, North and South London, local knowledge, positive/negative perception of boroughs and postcodes, trust and validation of my project. Reference to the London Map Shewing the Residencies of the Members of the RGS 1843


2 – “Fellow Artists/Fellow Muses” piece
Echoing the glorious panel of RGS medallists, this piece is a celebration of the career of 8 fellow women artists [Agnes, Susan, Nina Torp, Gayle Kwon Chang, Yara El Sherbini, Nicholette Goff, Rita Keegan, Cleo Broda]. The location of their shows is recorded as latitude and longitude coordinates and a keepsafe of their presence on this planet is embodied in the hair lock used instead of the bristle of a paintbrush.

 Themes: ephemerality and scope of one’s career, recognition, validation, opportunities, level of success, gender, categorization, journey from emerging to established, building blocks of an art career on a global scale, fragmentation of the art world, reference to Caroline Bond Day’s anthropological work.


3 – X&Y – DNA map
This circular floor piece record the maternal and paternal lines of a mixed race person. The result is a ghostly demarcation of continental coasts that illustrate possible ancestral journeys.

Themes: ancestry, notion of ‘terroir’, ethnicity, genetics, dominant and recessive dynamics of a family relationships, geography, preconception of where one comes from, density of population adapting to the land, elusive sense of belonging, old fashioned notion of bloodline vs new technology of DNA mapping, reference to the Delisle and Buache maps in the RGS collection


4 – Colour Coding series The Age of Innocence
In these colour prints, APN maps out the variations of black and white tones on two toddlers’ faces, labelling them with food terminology. In French, the mother tongue of the artist, a person of mixed black and white racial heritage is defined amongst other things as café au lait. The pleasure derived from tasting, smelling, touching, looking, is lingering in the child’s tongue where knowledge is swallowed, inquired, repeated. Racial awareness is taught and given an ‘appropriate’ label, a great leap into the adult world, at a later stage of language and identity formation. The artist playfully speculates on the terminology the next generation will be using to define their identity.

Themes: complexity of identity formation, motherhood, mapping one’s ethnicity, cultural reference to ‘cafe au lait’ or the way terminology reflects societal articulation of migration, rooting oneself. Reference to Jackie Kay’s poem.

“ (…) There was a moment when
my whole face changed into a map,
and the stranger on the train
located even the name
of my village in Nigeria
in the lower part of my jaw. (…)”

Jackie Kay, Pride, from the collection “Off Colour” published in 1998 by Bloodaxe Books, ISBN 1 85224 420 8









Creative Compass show at the Royal Geographical Society, 6 May – 2 July 2010


In 2009, Agnes worked with inIVA on the Creative Mapping project curated by Teresa Cisneros at inIVA. She collaborated with artists Gayle Chong Kwan as well as Teresa Kiyota Rahman de Swiet on two different educational projects, ‘Mapping the Creative Process’ and ‘Pronoic Mapping’.

The London Map Project – “The Knowledge – Land of Achievement & Land of Wisdom” was on show at the Tenderpixel Gallery in Cecil Court, off St Martin’s Lane, London between 18th December 2008 and 17th January 2009.

Coupling the grammar of cartography with elements from the Proust Questionnaire entitled “The Knowledge : Land of Wisdom & Land of Achievement”, Poitevin-Navarre explores notions of identity and expectations. By democratically marking survey responses of people from all walks of life onto a series of London borough maps, the artist highlights emergent patterns of collective wisdom, personal achievements and aspirations. The anonymity of each response to the Proust Questionnaire allows for a more open interpretation; contributors can be true to themselves whilst answering the questions, and the audience is unable to pass judgment based on gender, age, race and creed.

“Fathoms”, the site-specific installation that complements the show, encapsulates notions of categorization, social mobility and symbolic transition. The impeccable provenance of this set of Darwinian ladders [from the Natural History Museum] is key. So is the numerical code that suggests the meandering shape of the river that divides our city.

Agnes gave an artist talk/Q&A on Saturday 10th January at 3pm at the gallery.

Agnes worked with Tate Britain on the VerbalEyes project, a series of educational workshops in Newham. ‘The Odyssey’, was shown at Tate Britain in June 2009.


Agnes Poitevin-Navarre performed a Pecha Kucha [20 slides, 20 seconds each] on the subject of ‘Motherland’ on Monday 28th July 2008. The venue was a French restaurant in Hammersmith.

A couple of artists and poets presented their work followed by a Dinner with the Artists.

RSVP Betsy de Lotbiniere

‘Motherland’, a new site-specific installation, was exhibited in Hyde Park, as part of the ‘Crystal Palace Reappears’ curated by Senaka Weeraman, on Saturday 21st June and Sunday 22nd June 2008. It was also exhibited at Crystal Palace Park, on the beautiful Italian Terraces on Saturday 5th and a rainy Sunday 6th July 2008, as part of the Crystal Palace Park Victorian Weekend.|crystal%20palace#map=51.42318,-0.07657|16|4&loc=GB:51.42236:-0.07338:16|crystal%20palace|

‘Motherland’ is an installation of life-size silhouettes relating to Queen Victoria’s nine pregnancies, her iconic figure as the Head of the British Empire and England being the Mother Land.

The students from HCC collaborated with Yara El Sherbini and Agnes Poitevin-Navarre on the theme of Mapping Language. An exhibition of their work was shown at inIVA. Private view Thursday 3rd July, 6-8pm.

The students from Stoke Newington School collaborated with Jeremy Wood and Agnes Poitevin-Navarre and ‘Circle of Friends’ as well as a series of GPS drawings were shown at inIVA, Education Space, Rivington Place, London EC2A 3BA, from Wednesday18th June until Saturday 21st.

‘Colour Coding Julien & Jasper – The Age of Innocence’ was exhibited as part of the group show ‘From Taboo to Icon’ curated by Sophie Saunders and Shervone Neckles in Philadelphia at the Ice Box Project Space from January 11th, 2008 until February 11th.

The private view is on Friday 1st February.

‘Colour Coding Julien & Jasper – The Age of Innocence’ were shown at the Mapping show in Bury from April to July 2007 and with the commissioned

‘Colour Coding Eva – Here & Now’ at the 198 Gallery in Herne Hill, London SE24 0JT in November and December 2007.

Also the Hastings maps entitled

‘The Knowledge – Land of Achievement, Land of Happiness & Land of Wisdom’ were shown at the HMAG, in Hastings in October 2007.

I gave an artist talk at the 198, ‘Colour Coding Metisse Identity’ in conversation with Paul Goodwin (from Centre for Urban and Community Research Goldsmiths) on Wednesday 14th November, 7.30-8.30pm []

Update on the London Maps Proust questionnaire/The Knowledge – Land of Achievement & Land of Wisdom

I want to thank all 1000 or so of you who have, so far, contributed to the project.

Spot the artist:
ICA Alien Nation
International Playwright Festival, Warehouse Theatre
Remember Ken Saro-Wiwa at City Hall
Blondel, Pleasance Theatre
Curating the Postcolonial conference RCA at Goethe Institute
inIVA Creative Mapping Project at the Royal Geographical Society
Prevista workshop at the Croydon ClockTower
Mothers of Invention talk at the British Library
Black Urbanism Seminars at City Hall
Richard Hylton’s The Nature of the Beast book launch at Conway Hall
Sepake Knitting soiree
Fringe Report networking first monday at the Cellar Bar in Soho

The work of Agnes Poitevin-Navarre plays with the concept of self and how it is defined through racial/cultural categorization. In her art practice, she challenges perceptions of cultural, linguistic and racial hybridity.

Agnes uses genograms, maps, blackboards, playing cards, objects in clay, oil paintings, collages and coffee stained drawings, to load these beautiful, functional, educational and recreational artefacts with subversive symbolism.

The beauty and playful nature of her work exists in stark contrast to the deeper political subtext it highlights. The viewer is invited to read and decipher layers of meanings on a conscious and unconscious level. The subject matter: the complexity of human interaction and its geohistorical effects.

The Proust Questionnaire project however signals a point of departure in her art practice. Agnes is using a multivocal rather than a personal source to explore identity issues. One recent contributor said: “You are a reflexion of what you see in others”. By randomly gathering contributions from people from all walks of life, all ages, ethnicities, social classes, she is highlighting patterns of collective wisdom.