Kate Murdoch's limited edition medals invite people to acknowledge some of those who work for the good of their community. This idea provoked an immediate and passionate poem from Sue Turbet, who remarked 'I discovered there are 73 statues of Queen Victoria in the UK…probably 69 too many. It’s time other women had their moments'.
The medals have been hung on railings, benches and posts in Looms Lane, Lower Baxter Street, Angel Hill, The Great Churchyard, Tuns Lane and Angel Lane.
Statues should be raised for strong women.
Ada / Beryl / Connie / Doris
Women who worked the land,
drove tractors, trams, rivets,
knotted headscarves, made do,
kept the home fires burning.
Women who said enough’s enough
Emmeline / Florence / Gertrude / Harriet
rattled teacups, raised eyebrows,
scattered censure like uprooted trees;
who hurricaned citadels,
crushed paper mountains underfoot,
made twisters from cigar smoke,
unafraid to say I want; stood firm
- or sat, like Rosa on her bus -
camped at Greenham, marched.
And unsung women stitching lives together -
Irene /Julie / Kath / Lorraine/
Maggie / Nora / Olive / Pam
Queenie / Raji / Sonja / Tash
Ula / Val / Winnie / Xanthe
Yasmina / Zulieka .
Kate Murdoch is interested in objects as clear indicators of the passage of time. Wider themes of loss and remembrance run through her work, reflecting a fascination with the permanence of objects versus the fragility of human existence. The theme of value and worth is central to Murdoch's work and the objects presented open up opportunities for personal and political discussion around class, gender and privilege. She has exhibited as part of the Whitstable Biennale, Deptford X, Frieze Art Fair, and at galleries including Transition, Firstsite, WW and APT. Murdoch was awarded the Shape Open prize in 2016, and her award winning work, selected by Yinka Shonibare, is in the Shape Arts permanent collection.http://www.katemurdochartist.com Twitter @katemurdochart Instagram @katemurdochartist Facebook Kate Murdoch
Lynda Turbet observes the world from North Norfolk and tries make sense of it all through writing.
Monument to 2020, Harriet Hill, 2021, gold leaf on brown paper, plastic box 5 x 5 cm
This morning Harriet Hill's monument for groving 2021 appeared in Woolhall Street. The artists were commissioned to make work on the theme Monument during the third covid lockdown and several have - unsurprisingly - referenced the strange period that we have been through over the last eighteen months.
Twenty twenty - the year that never was. The most numerically pleasing of years which was never allowed to be. Never allowed to shine. A little wad of tempting twenties. All promise and no delivery it was a box of treasure sealed forever.
Glimmers of sparkle, months of the mundane, all folded together like a year-long chain.
We locked it away for our safety. Saw it with clear vision and sealed ourselves from it. Untouchable now. Gone. We can look but never get back to it. Never get it back.
People who deal with numbers seem to forget
that people, not just numbers,
dangle on the other end.
Shut away in offices, several floors up,
they must lose touch
not only with the ground,
but with the everyday, with fellow-feeling,
shut away up there
beyond what’s natural.
All day long juggling and balancing
columns of figures, like numerical acrobats,
they must get dizzy with the concentration
forgetting that numbers have consequences –
meaning people, jobs, livelihoods,
possession and re-possession, debts and loans –
added up or taken away
they are still numbers, large or small,
and numbers don’t forget.
Numbers only talk to other numbers;
numbers measure, numbers make
bigger and smaller numbers;
numbers add up, and numbers take away.
People too easily ignore the fact
that numbers are hard,
where people are soft,
and need to remember
that people are more than just numbers,
that people are vulnerable
and need protecting,
sometimes from themselves.
Harriet Hill creates sculpture, site-specific installation and interactive live art that responds to the visceral qualities of materials, physical space and social frameworks. These may be structural, spatial, experiential or tactile. She is interested in the way these elements affect us and how they can be manipulated. Harriet has an MFA Textiles from Goldsmiths 2007 and supports her practise working in art fabrication. https://www.harriethill.co.uk/about Instagram @harrietlhill
Lynn Whitehead started life as an actor/musician and worked all over the country for years. Later she side stepped into theatre-education working with the National Theatre, New Wolsey and Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds running youth theatre groups and working with community groups. She fell in love with storytelling and likes to collect and tell traditional stories from all round the world. She has an MA in playwriting. https://www.suffolkartlink.org.uk/meet-artist-lynn-whitehead/ Twitter @LynnyWhitehead Instagram @lynnwhitehead96 Facebook Lynn Whitehead
Phil Barrett taught art for 27 years, then retired to his home county of Norfolk where he concentrates on writing. He teaches creative writing, in schools and libraries across North Norfolk. He has won prizes and commendations in national competitions, and has been published in anthologies including In Protest: 150 poems for Human Rights (2013), Word Aid Anthologies Did I Tell You? (2010), and Not Only The Dark (2011), the Ink, Sweat and Tears webzine, and Poems in the Waiting Room in 2016 and 2019. In January 2017 he published a book of poems, Writing Me, about growing-up.
In August this year another inclusive art project, groving, is appearing on the streets of Bury St Edmunds, following successful projects in 2019 and 2020. This year the theme is Monument.
Artworks are placed daily on the streets and in public places in the town. Artworks are accompanied here on the blog by a new written work by a poet or author.
Bury St Edmunds - in common with other places - has a range of markers, plaques, memorials and statues. They encompass the war memorial, a Frink statue of Edmund and sentiments modestly enshrined in graffiti. Who and what is commemorated is often arbitrary and dependent on who decides. The choices reflect our national and local histories, politics and religion, and shine a light on our preconceptions and prejudices. What and who are valued and remembered? What and who are not?
Monuments and memorials are potent symbols, and as such prompt strong responses – positive and negative. The Protestant Reformation during the 16th century in Europe almost entirely rejected the existing tradition of Catholic art, and often destroyed as much of it as it could reach. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992, many of the memorials and grand structures embodying the military, economic, and scientific achievements of the Soviet experiment were gradually (or quickly) torn down, or else neglected.
Discourse in history scholarship reflects an increasing acknowledgment of the limited scope of representation within the historical narrative. The conversation about diversity and inclusion within the history field has increased exponentially in the last decade. The validity of one History, dominated by a white male European world-view, has become increasingly difficult to accept.
Heated debate in the UK has recently focused on the statues of Edward Colston in Bristol, and Cecil Rhodes at Oxford University.
What is missing in our public memorials? Does monument inevitably imply monumental? Is there space for the small, the personal, the local? Does a memorial have to be enduring? Should events and significant people be lauded and remembered temporarily – the bunch of flowers at the site of a crash is a monument of sorts.
Day 15 saw the final piece of artwork placed out in Bury St Edmunds for groving 2020. Many of the works are still in place to discover, some of them changed by the weather, some have been moved - evidence that people are enjoying the treasure hunt. If you find one do take a photo and post it #groveprojects.
If you would like to hear about future grove projects please use the Contact page to join the mailing list.
On day 15 of groving: Silver Spoon, the second of Sandra Lane's seductive sculptures...? toys....? sweeties....? is in the Abbey Gardens, adding to the attractions. The poem written in response is by Ed Arantus.
To taste you is to want you
To sparkle and to lick you
To see you I desire you
A conflict that can love
But I feel the beat
Of a heart that bursts full of
A sweet snail’s pace arms race
Oh missile marzipan
You fire as fast as you can
Of life's sweetest candy, don’t lose it?
You might never taste me again
To taste you is to fear you
I sparkle to be near you
You lick me, and desire me
Sweet kisses saved for two
There you go again
Don’t forget that we are friends
Too late to make amends
Sandra Lane worked as a journalist and a photographer prior to attending art school. She graduated from BA Fine Art Drawing at Camberwell College of Art in 2013 receiving the Camberwell Acme Studio Award. She completed an MFA Sculpture at the Slade School of Art in 2017 followed by the Slade Summer Residency and the Sydney Nolan Trust Residency. Recent projects include: Her Mit Projects, February 2020, Collyer Bristow Graduate Award Show, Exceptional, November 2019-February 2020, Trophy, Simsmith Gallery, July-August 2019, What Kind of Spirit is This, Simsmith Gallery May-June 2019. Twitter and Instagram @artysandralane www.sandra-lane.com
Ed Arantus is a conceptual artist and writer. He published his first work in the Censored Zine in 2010 and has exhibited his work ever since at venues like the Contemporary Arts Research Unit in Oxford and the Museum of Futures in Surbiton. https://edarantus.blogspot.com; Instagram @edarantus