Boxed Assemblages

Inspiration for When Your Light Burns Out
I was very unhappy, broken-hearted, broken, when I made this image. I started messing around with some of the darkest treasures in my collection. As I opened an old Ilford film pot with a stabbed hole in the lid, the leg of the dead cicada inside hooked onto the lid and it leapt at me, making me scream in horror. The energy of the scream vibrated through me, shifting my gloom. Next I came across a box of dead beetles and burst out laughing when I opened the box – they were so black, perfect for the darkness I was in. Suddenly I was absorbed in my process of creating and the grief I was feeling dissolved. Of course it came back and then life called me back as I moved objects around and played with fire and melting. Hence the title, because there is always something there, for me its art.

Eliot’s The Wasteland whimper was on my mind – Eliot being a huge source of inspiration thanks to a brilliant teacher when I studied O-level English Literature. And Churchill’s phrase ‘Black Dog’ kept popping into my thoughts and I considered his line, ‘When you’re in hell, keep going’, as a possible title for the piece. But what I found was that when I felt completely burnt out my creative spirit was there. My curiosity about finding a way to communicate what I was feeling took me to my collections, materials and tools and they connected me to my humour and spirit.

What gave me a sense of wonder was reading an explanation of Eliot’s words Datta, Dayadhvan, Damyata. Shantih shantih shantih in The Wasteland, They come from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, written around 800 – 400 BC. God guides man with these words, translated as ‘generosity, self-control and compassion’, giving hope for a new peaceful beginning as civilisation, in the form of London Bridge falling down, crumbles. There is a sense of a shift to a more aware paradigm.

I have often been inspired by the Upanishads, finding words to describe what I have only sensed and helping me produce pieces on meditation and stillness, so was particularly delighted that in my darkest moment I was taken back to this source and found the darkness and the light alongside each other as they always are.

Aum Shanti

Boxed Assemblages