Caitlin Akers

Punch & The Fight

Punch is a response to my research into the lives of my great great uncles, The Marchant brothers, who were famous boxers in the 1920's and 30's. The most famous of the brothers was Billy Marchant. He had a very colourful life, when he was 15 he ran away from his home in Salford to join a fairground boxing booth before heading to America to fight in New York. He was injured in the First World War but still continued to box, taking to the ring in over 800 bouts!

Whilst researching Billy at the National Fairground Archive in Sheffield I came across a passage in a book describing him as 'The first bona fide, fistic, folk hero' this text as well as old boxing and fairground posters became the inspiration behind Punch A bright pink hanging leporello book printed with wooden ‘Headline’ type on sugar paper. 

The second publication inspired by this subject is The Fight.The book is a maze style structure that takes you through the thrills and spills of a fairground boxing bout, exploring language, sound and movement. The book is Risograph printed in black on recycled yellow paper. 

The Boxing project intends to not only bring to light the Marchant brother’s story but also to question ideas and knowledge surrounding the history of boxing culture, language and masculinity.

‘Punch’ was part of UAL’s Xhibit 2017 at Art Bermondsey Project Space, London in April 2017. You can read more about the exhibition here.

Sarah Bodman (Senior Researcher at UWE) wrote an article about the project for a-n (The Artists Information Company) website. You can read the article here.