No chickens have been hurt in this installation! In my studio I have an altar. I pray before this altar when I arrive and when I finish and leave for the day. My studio altar consists of objects found or made. Each object has a meaning or memory which I hold close to my heart.
SKULL - This papier mache piece was made by me at a Day of the Dead workshop with Marcela Montoya. It represents death. I find the day of the Dead festival a wonderful way to acknowledge death. It is something we all have to face whether it be our own or someone else’s. In 2008 I spent a wonderful day working with the Linares family in Mexico city. The Linares are renowned for their papier mache work of skulls and skeletons and alebrijes used in the Day of the Dead festivities. Some of their work can be seen in the British Museum.
KETE - The Kete (bag) is made out of flax. This one was made by my Auntie Betty and holds my incense and charcoal. It was her first kete she had made. To me it is a family heirloom.
MONSTRANCE - A liturgical vessel used in Churches a monstrance is designed to hold a consecrated host. Here I have inserted a picture of a fish. As a child I had an ambition to visit the Great Barrier Reef. When I was 18 I travelled to Australia and up to Cairns catching a ride on a fishing boat out to the outer reef. The first time I put my head under the water I saw I was surrounded by a huge school of tropical fish of all shapes, sizes and colours swimming around me. As well as fish there were huge clams, beautiful coral, manta ray and reef sharks. It was absolutely stunning and a dream come true.
SATYAVAN’S VISIT - The backdrop to the altar is a painting titled Satyavan’s visit. This is named after a friend who introduced me to some Shamanic teachings. Satyavan’s name is taken from the story of Savitri and Satyavan. When Satyvan dies and Death comes to take him his wife Savitri follows asking Death to return her beloved husband to her. Eventually after much journeying Death is moved by Savitri’s dedication and devotion. He grants Savitri her wish and gives her husband back for them to live a long and prosperous life together.
MOUNTAIN - Last year I had a number of dreams about mountains. I grew up near mountains so it is not so surprising but the shape of the mountains in my dreams were quite unique and their presence seemed quite mystical. Inspired by the dreams I made a mountain out of papier mache and gesso. Later in the same year I travelled to Peru and visited Machu Pichu. The peaks around this amazing place reminded me of my dream mountains.
KORU - The Koru is an important motif for me. I have been drawing it for years and it appears in much of my work including some icons. This is a piece I carved a couple of years ago. The Koru represents the constant unfolding of time past and present.