Circumscribed


Group Exhibition “Housekeeping”, January 23 – Feb 5, 2020
Jeannie Avent Gallery, East Dulwich. LONDON

This artists book of poems and drawings was exhibited as part of a group show of writers and artists in South London. 36-page, 3-fold, A5, duotone with 23.5k gold illumination.

Circumscribed is a fictional reflection on the experience of a German-born New Zealand-resident woman in the 1910’s in a rural forest town, During WW1 she is deemed by law to be an “Enemy Alien” and her ability to move, travel and earn money is drastically circumscribed. Her husband is a soldier, Manaia is also a mythical creature with the head of a bird, a human body and a fish tail. There is her grieving mother-in-law. All suffer from circumscribed conditions, under British colonial rule in New Zealand.

This illustrated poetic narrative is also structurally based on the remnant Gospel of Mary Magdalene and her description of seven spiritual ascensions. The main character is divided into a trio of personas – one is at the still point in the cottage, the other self is free and running the radii to the borderlands, and then there is the one inscribing them both. They find they must all return to them-selves upon the crossing of the threshold – which is a physical as well as a spiritual boundary. It is the archetype journey for spiritual freedom, as we resist becoming ‘enemy aliens’ in our homeland, it is a journey we take everyday.

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