To spend several months painting a subject can be quite a solitary challenge, though meaningful. Then when you share your efforts with the public, it’s a vulnerable moment to see your paintings (which seemed such large swathes of blank canvas) for the first time in the gallery, where they appear to be swallowed up in public space!
The journey from personal to public was borne along on a tide of good feeling, thanks to the help of family and friends! But also by two very moving performances by Jennifer L Williams and Atzi Muramatsu, who responded to the paintings in poetry and music.
Jennifer recited three poems, one of which was written in response to ‘Mountains of Rum from Laig Bay’, and Atzi improvised on cello to several paintings in the exhibition.
I was so very moved by their artistic responses, I found them quite magical, and I’ve included two videos here, along with the text of Jennifer’s poem.
The videos below (taken with my little digital camera!) show part of Atzi’s performance (mostly in response to ‘Moonlight on Eigg’). Followed by the poetry recital by Jennifer (also the poem text, and paintings – ‘Moonlight on Eigg’ and ‘Mountains of Rum from Laig Bay’ below the video links) …
Poem by Jennifer Williams:
Who lived in a country place as we do
The dead call out to the dead. David Harsent
Looking in from outside where the fire is burning
Looking in from outside so our hair seems to be on fire
Looking into the empty house whose only
People are the forgotten memories of ourselves
Looking in at the tides of dust and the peeling of mirrors
The peeling whose iridescence is reminiscent of shells
The pealing of bells signalling a memory about to appear
Long-buried because of its too-great pleasure
Silent as the witches whose innocence welds the tongue
Outside where we belong with the fire and the sea’s glass
Its waves of green astonishment lavishing the sand
The creatures of the deep and the wild salt
Looking in at our own reflection with sleep-heavy eyes
As if a spell has been cast from which we cannot wake
Our hands forever wet with the birth milk of the milkweed
Our breath, our image in the painting, fading
I felt so uplifted and inspired by the preview night, and I really look forward to future collaborations with Jennifer and Atzi. Also, many thanks to mum, dad, Alicia and Lucrezia for their help!