In 2005 Charles Avery embarked on a lifelong project entitled The Islanders, a detailed description of the topography, cosmology and inhabitants of a fictional island, realised in drawings, objects and texts. The project can be read as a meditation on the central themes of philosophy and art as well as the colonization and ownership of the world of ideas. This book is a portrait of the people and culture of Omatopoeia, capital city, port, and gateway to the Island. The town was once the stepping off point for pioneers and travellers. It grew from an outpost to a bustling boomtown, before entering a phase of decline into depression ravaged slum, and w - in the fictional present - finds itself reborn as a regenerated city of culture with its own Museum of Modern Art. The book also offers glimpses of the wilderness that lies beyond the fortified walls of Omatopoeia and the Islanders' cautious forays into this territory, for the purposes of hunting and extraction.
Born in Oban, Scotland in 1973, Charles Avery lives and works in London. Since 2004, he has devoted his practice to the description of a fictional Island which he continues to elaborate, with its own population, customs and cosmology, nature and architecture, expressed in the form of large-scale drawings, sculptures, installations, texts and moving images. This ongoing body of work created within a specific framework is rooted in Avery s own life and upbringing on the Isle of Mull off the west coast of Scotland. The Island is located at the centre of an archipelago of innumerable constituents. The gateway to the Island is the town of Onomatopoeia once the stepping off point of the pioneers who first came to the place, turned colonial outpost, turned boom town, bustling metropolis, depression ravaged slum, to regenerated city of culture and tourist destination.