a complex grief

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After laying aside my curatorial work with the Stairwell Gallery, my mind has turned to my own work as a priority. But as I approach it I notice that as well as a sense of need and desire to make art, there is a deep hesitation and reluctance.

To overcome that reluctance, I decided to keep my art practice simple. I have hand torn small squares of water colour paper as my support, and ink as my medium. As my reference I have  pictures of roses from the neighbourhoods I spend my days in. I thought: I will just get myself started with small roses and go from there.

But even with this simplicity, I notice my reluctance and mood deepen; and at the same time I notice that I am soothed somehow by making roses, and that I really don’t want to be making anything else but these small gestural pieces.

Then I began seeing them as plumes of bombs as seen from above. And sometimes they look like glimpses of landscape seen from the air through a break in the clouds. I also imagine them as broken hearts or voices.  And sometimes, thanks to the sheen of the ink, they look wet, and the roses become small pools of tears.

This morning I understood that my reluctance to engage with and the desire to do my work both come from the same place- from grief.  And so I will continue with these roses as they seem to be giving symbol and solace  to the many layers of sadness I feel:  for my own childhood, for the loss of my family; for what I learned of war and holocaust when I was little, for what I have learned of these as a woman; for mothers and children lost under bombs; for creatures and our world suffering under the weight of greed; for our collective past from which we  have learnt so little, and for our present in which so many of us feel helpless.

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