Stefan Gec The Shepherd’s Whistle

Photo: Steve Shrimpton

The Shepherd’s Whistle is a newly commissioned project by Stefan Gec that centres on the artist’s interest in a series of top-secret maps of strategic cities worldwide, created by Soviet intelligence during the Cold War. These maps, along with the artist’s restoration of an M-72 Soviet army motorbike and sidecar from 1957, lie at the heart of this new body of work.

Riding his M-72 motorbike and navigating using the Soviet maps, Gec made a number of journeys from his hometown in Huddersfield to Derry-Londonderry, Blyth, Greenock, Barrow- in-Furness and Southampton (the final stop being the original offices of Ordnance Survey). These cities were amongst those identified by the Soviets as having strategic importance, and Gec worked with the artist/filmmaker Lee Hassall to document each journey using an 8mm Soviet cine camera.

Drawing on his Ukrainian heritage and family history, Gec has brought together a poignant and thought provoking collection of works that investigate ideas relating to the Cold War, Chernobyl, cartography, migration, immigration and identity.

The Shepherd’s Whistle has been commissioned by John Hansard Gallery in partnership with Locus+ and is supported by Arts Council England.

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