Charles Avery and The Islanders

Untitled (the Port of Onamatopoeia)

Charles Avery is a Scottish artist, who in 2004 created a parallel universe, an imaginary island, which than he filled meticulously with its own geography, population, flora and fauna. Mythical creatures, gods, inhabitants, tourist and adventurers are embedded into complex social structure, forming an entire cosmos that spans between pure fantasy and theoretical reflection. This vast, ongoing project is executed in a numerous large-scale drawings, texts, sculptures and installations. The pencil and ink incredibly detailed drawings illustrate islanders’ everyday life, as if in a reportage, they invite the viewer to explore the story of Onomatopoeia, while sculptures and installations make it even more real and believable.

Untitled (Heidless Macgregor's Bar)

The fantastic world, which Avery devoted himself to describe, is based and reflects on the world around us and the artist’s own experiences (he was brought up on the Scottish Isle of Mull) and could be interpreted as “a philosophical meditation on art-making and the impossibility of finding truth“(Avery, p. 145). Nicolas Bourriaud compares Avery’s work to Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time and says: “In our globalised universe, where even the slightest square meter has been charted by satellites and is accessible on websites like Google Earth, the invention of the world has a completely different meaning […] Inventing a country, nation or region from A to Z as Avery does, is like practicing a kind of intellectual separatism.”(Avery, p. 150)

The Palace of the Timewatchers

Untitled (Place of The Route of the If’En)


Avery, Ch. (2008) The Islanders, An Introduction, London: Parasol unit, Koenig Books Ltd

Rawlings, L. Island Life, The List:


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