Alicja Rogalska

The Royals, 2017-18

The Royals

A collaborative project made with migrant workers in Jersey, the island famous for the Jersey Royal potato. With its thin skin and earthy flavour, Jersey Royals are much loved on mainland Britain, not just for their delicious taste, but as a harbinger of Spring and the warmer months to follow.

With over 30,000 tonnes imported every season, traditional cultivation methods remain labour intensive, with every potato worker – often migrant workers from Poland and Portugal – handling tonnes of potatoes every season as they plant, harvest, sort and pack. Little thought is ever given to the workers, but Alicja Rogalska attempts to change this. She invited the migrant potato workers to make clay potatoes relying on tactile memory to form a prize for the best employer nominated by the workers themselves.

As they shape their clay potatoes, they talk about their labour conditions, experiences and expectations – and it is these personal insights that make up this film, opening a door for us to step into their everyday reality.

Commissioned by Art House Jersey and curated by Morning Boat.