I am not solely a landscape artist. I have recently started engaging in conceptual art. I have decided to post these experiences on the website starting with Just the clothes on their back: Bear witness. an installation responding to Warsan Shires's poem Home.
Just the clothes on their backs: bear witness
In July 2019 I responded to a combined call from Edinburgh Printmakers and Cork Printmakers . I proposed a washing line to be hung in the mezzanine void at Edinburgh Printmakers. Pegged on this washing line panels of silk fluttering in the moving air. Full size images of clothing printed on the panels, on the clothing - images of migration.
This installation is a response to Warsan Shire’s poem Home. Warsan starts her poem with “No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark”. She concludes no-one leaves home unless ANYWHERE else is safer.
Many migrants travel with “just the clothes on their backs”. Imagine these clothes could talk – what could they tell us. This installation “bears witness” to what the clothes have seen. All hung on a washing line which itself is an image of home.
The images of migration have come from memories of iconic media images which I have remodelled with the help of my family – as rememberers, photographers and models.
Silk is diaphanous. The resultant images float in the air and are sometimes muted, by design, these are memories that are difficult to deal with, the viewer needs to approach the work and look more carefully to see the evidence.
My installation was accepted to be part of an exhibition at Cork Printmakers which has been delayed by Covid 19 and other circumstances, currently due for exhibition in 2021.
A ladies cardigan bearing witness to a refugee camp in Lesbos. Drypoint printed on silk.
A boy's t shirt bearing witness to a father and child drowned in a river attempting a crossing of the Mexican border. Drypoint printed on silk.
A babygro bearing witness to the plight of babies and children crossing the Mediterranean. Drypoint printed on silk.
Man’s shirt bearing witness to October 2019 when 39 migrants died in the back of a refrigerated truck – a coffin lorry people laid flowers as tributes – 39 bouquets for 39 young lives. Drypoint printed on silk.
The pants bear witness to “14 men between your legs” a quote from Warsan Shire’s poem. Highlighting the experience of rape and abuse suffered by migrants. Drypoint printed on silk.