Thursday, 12 August 2010
We, (Victoria Burgher, Unaiza Karim & I) won a grant from the 3 Faiths Form to work on a collaborative art project together. And so, been giving funding by a group to harness relationships between religious groups, we decided to build ourselves some armour.... beginning by drawing in the splendid Wallace Collection. But amongst the well-crafted tools for violence and killing, and magnificent yet threatening armour, there was one thing that we found particularly horrific. It was a quote from James Mann, who in 1937, after seeing the death and devastation in the Spanish Civil War, campaigned to save Spain's art and armour from destruction.
He wrote "Human life can be replaced by a comparatively simple process, but the great works of art which have come down to us from the past are irreplaceable."
I'm not sure if it is because the 3 of us are mothers that we found this statement so shocking. The diminishing of the value of individual human life struck us as antithetical to our religious moral sense and outlook on life. That he said it in 1937 after witnessing the trauma, and widespread loss of life in Spain is, in a twisted way, understandable. But the Wallace Collection, in the year 2000, chose that quote to display with with armour he saved, in a praiseworthy manner.
and so we began - talking and drawing the contrast between the violent forms and the delicate surface decoration. The uses of different materials - chainmail, leather, metal plate. and discussing that women today still face various affronts to their basic human dignity, the individual's right to self-determination and autonomy.
it promises to be a fascinating project. I am now investigating chainmail.... (and I thought paper-cutting was meticulous finger breaking work)