Generations of children in Britain and abroad have been weaned with Royal Doulton’s “Bunnykins’ range of bone china nursery ware. This range has been in continuous production since 1934 and is a successful British export story. But Bone China was not the only thing that Britain was exporting at the end of World War II; the Empire was keen on exporting children too.
Made for Export 2018, is a series of altered Royal Doulton Fine Bone China plates. The baby bunnies have been singled out and removed by physically cutting them out of the scene. Each small figure is isolated, on a small disc of bone china. The baby rabbit has been displaced from its familiar, domestic environment.
For several decades following the end of World War II, the British Government sent children from orphanages across the globe to begin new lives in Virginia, Australia, New Zealand , Canada and Zimbabwe. These children were adopted or recruited by the Catholic and Anglian Churches and well-meaning charities. Many children were abused and used as forced labour by the very people whose care they were entrusted into.
The second hand Bone China plates were sourced in Australia. The plate designs originate from between 1945 and 1974 and employ motifs of rabbit families sharing experiences such as cooking, washing, eating and doing chores. These are the lives that most migrant children never had.
Once removed the disc is no longer connected to the cultural narrative of the plate. The baby bunny has been sent forth to breed and multiply and in doing so fortify the British Empire’s control of the new world.