I wish for birds to sing in sad hearts, four x four at Mint Artist Studios Adelaide, May 2015.
During a tough week in which my heart was aching I removed wishes from a tree, signifying the end of a recent project that had had positivity and hope at its core. As I read them one by one I began to notice a common thread in what people had written – everyone it seemed wanted peace, either on a global or individual scale.
I pondered what this meant at a time when violence was so prevalent in the news. It wasn’t surprising, I guess, that they should want this, but I couldn’t help but think of Miss Congeniality and began to get annoyed at the generic nature of many of the responses. Where was the individuality and originality in what people wanted? What did ‘peace’ mean to them exactly? Was it seen as something so big and unattainable that it could only be reached through the somewhat futile act of wishing? Or was it just that the concept was so overwhelming that the words together made it easier to grasp?
Both world peace and inner peace were entwined I figured, and the former definitely couldn’t be achieved without the latter. Surely the executioners and rioters of late couldn’t truly have peace in their hearts.
As I dropped each wish into a brown paper bag I wondered what they were doing to achieve what they had written. Had this work been an opportunity to negate the responsibility in their own lives or was it just the first of the steps that they were taking to get there?
And how did all of this apply to me and my practice?
As the weeks went on I thought about confetti, and bunny’s and magic carpets and tried to find a way to bring the wishes to life in the context of this space. But nothing felt right, my sadness was overwhelming and I was lacking the lightness that I thought I needed.
In the end I could think only of my heart, and how it hurt and how heavy it had felt in recent times and how to make a work to fix it. And then I thought of you, and your hearts, and the impact of sharing joys and sorrows with others to double or halve what we felt.
Could a work that disappeared dispel my sorrows and bring a tiny bit of happiness to others in the process? Could it be a tiny tiny step in bringing peace to our lives?
The badges are a version of a cushion given to me recently by my sister, something that never fails to make me smile every time I see it. Tiny and portable, they are meant to be taken and kept or given away and worn over the heart on sad days.