In July 2022 I curated 'A Remembered Belonging' at the Curious Tower, the garden run by Chaos Magic, inviting artists working with the slow rhythms and processes of nature. It was a beautiful day of feasting, ceremony and old crafts. Photos by Freddy Griffiths.
The press release reads:
We think we know the land. We even think we own it. We seek to tame and subjugate it, to speed up its fruiting and disrupt its rest in order to reap every last grain of what is useful and pleasing to us. But we misunderstand: the land does not belong to us. We belong to it.
The works shown here seek to be integrated with the natural rhythms of the land - the gentle cleansing of the rain, the arc of the sun across the sky, the growth and decay of plants - so as to remember this belonging. There is a welcoming of dissolution, knowing that in this is the seed of re-becoming, and also of a longer, slower approach to time than our normalised frenetic pace - some of the works will bear fruit after being left in the garden for months after the exhibition. The spirit of the land is evoked in sculpture, looming and threatening - a reminder of the increasingly terrifying repercussions of the violent misunderstanding of seeing the land as ours. The ghost of the river running deep under the Tower is encountered by underground explorers and evoked at the surface - a reminder of deep time and the futility of attempted human control in the face of inexorable natural forces.
Myself, Winter Beaumont and Milly Melbourne collaborated on this sculpture of Meredith, the spirit of the Curious Tower. Using the remaining ash branches from the saplings we cut down to make the shelter for the Tower, I whittled the bark off in a long, repetitive and gorgeously tactile process. When I reversed the branches, they had a looming presence that called for the mask made by Winter to bring the spirit into being. Milly hung fabrics in a capriote-type headdress, dyed with woad in a long alchemical process. The sculpture rises up challengingly from the land, confronting our desecration of the natural world. Its mirror eyes reflect our images back at ourselves, holding us accountable for these crimes.