Grounded

I have arrived in Bergen, Norway to take part in a collaborative exhibition with Bergen University and Bryggens Museum - Journeys to Tadmor (Palmyra).

This exciting opportunity comes hard on the heels of my Japanese adventure and I'm aware of the multiple, layered sensations this is creating. 

The work I am producing will form the basis of a two week residency when I will build the sculpture installation 'Exhume' which I produced last year in response to the attack on Palmyra in Syria in 2015.

Since returning from Japan I have been keen to retain a sense of hope for the future. 

I was aware on leaving England how tense and full of angst my work had become. 

In Japan I lost this anxiety and a lightness entered my thinking, freed, not least, from a turbulent political time in the West. 

In particular, the 'ground culture' in Japan resonated strongly with me. It is humbling and perhaps submissive but also elemental. 

To remove your shoes and make contact with 'the earth', to sit on mats with others to eat or share tea from hand made bowls - this lowering calms the senses and opens up a fresh perspective for the Westerner. 

Now, handling my clay again, in a very different setting,  reminds me that whilst I am back, dealing with subjects of conflict again, the clay in my hand gives me hope. Perhaps it always did.

And I've also taken my shoes off!

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Flying into Bergen.

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My neighbourhood for a few weeks.

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A wonderful welcome meal from my hosts at Bergen University  - thank you Birgit, Håkon and Alessandro.

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Work began on 'Exhume' today.

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Lucky Cat is with me! 

Image: Birgit Van Der Lans