Reflections in poetry and image on death, remembrance and renewal
- in a time of lockdown and after
The poet Rosie Jackson and the artist Geoff Dunlop are creating a series of installations to present in venues across South-West England during 2021, and hopefully beyond, in both time and place. They are establishing points of contemplation, a gathering together of thoughts and feelings about who and what we have lost, and how we can collectively revive, and perhaps even renew, our society, our communities, ourselves. Instead of bearing the weight of history and stone, this memorial is intended to be temporary and light. It will take the form of a set of translucent cotton prints - half carrying poems and half carrying images.
The starting point here is the presentation of two sets of five poems and five images. Geoff Dunlop's images in the two sets to express contrasting moods, but both sets are a visual expression of the idea of a life force running through all existence, at least existence as we humans experience it. Rosie Jackson’s poems have a life force of their own, providing an energy and empathy which can help readers look into the face of pain and loss. Her poems take the reader into many different worlds but the clear ring of Rosie’s voice prevents us from losing our way in these sometimes strange places. Her recurring message is that even the most desperate circumstances can be survived.
One critic has said that Rosie Jackson’s poems describe “what happens when we let love into our lives, how -like light- it can be exposing, unflattering, even blinding, but also cleansing, warm, truthful and joyful … The alluring not-quite-truths of art are also dramatically captured … the shortest bursts of emotion perfectly distilled.
Memorial Set 1
The motif of the first set is lichen, an organism associated with tombs and gravestones, inexorably eating its way through the evidence of lives once lived. Yet lichen is an extraordinary lifeforce in itself. It is a union of two organisms -fungi and algae- that form a mutually beneficial bond so strong that lichens can sustain themselves for thousands of years in the most inhospitable of conditions. Lichen are amongst the earliest organisms on Earth, dating back at least 400 million years. These images -evoking a certain tradition of abstract painting- have been sourced in the Welsh Marches, on a hilltop tomb erected 5,000 years ago, and in a nearby country graveyard.
Memorial Set 2
The images in the second set address life in a more vibrant form, evoking the breath that flows through the universe, the vital force - or xi, prana, mana, pneuma, as the breath of life is named in the Chinese, South Asian, South Pacific and Greek cultural traditions. Metaphorically or, if you prefer, spiritually this life force flows within us and all around us, in air, earth, water, light and shade, and in countless subatomic processes most of us can only imagine.
During the period of the pandemic and the enforced lockdowns it has provoked, many people have gained a new awareness of the wealth of natural life that sustains them. This awareness has, for some at least, become a source of resolve and strength.
Each version of Memorial comes in a unit of ten prints: five poems and five images, each printed on translucent cotton poplin. This is a material that quickly responds to changes in light and the movement of air. This gives the prints animation and energy which adds to the experience of looking and reading. The prints range in size from 150cm h x 100cm w to 200cm hi x 133cm. If venues require other sizes and other print materials, this can be easily arranged.
In addition to visiting the hanging prints installation, people will be able to purchase and take away the images and texts in the form of a “concertina” booklet, in which the poems and pictures can be folded out, one-by-one, or as a complete set.
If you are interested in arranging to install Memorial for any period, or have other inquiries,
please click here