As paths intersect

The final armature was removed from my clay sculpture installation 'Exhume' today. 

It is the culmination of two weeks work in the wonderful environment of Bryggens Museum in Bergen. 

The exhibition will open on Friday and will showcase research findings from Bergen University's exploration of the history and cultural heritage of Palmyra and the Middle East.

In the space will be gathered stories, artefacts, books and photos from museum collections and archives as well as images taken by the team on site visits to Syria.

Visitors will have a chance to see classical pieces such as Atenatan and Salmat on loan from the Glyptotek in Copenhagen alongside ceramic pot sherds revealed from Bryggens' own collection.

Over 2000 years of history is illustrated in a vibrant mix of textures and voices culminating with the present day conflict in Syria.

It has been a very rainy June in Bergen (even for Bergen standards) so seeing the space begin to fill up with images of the desert and items that look as though they have just been plucked from the sand is appealing. 

I think about all the layered journeys involved in this exhibition: the lives of the ancient  Palmyrenes (Tadamera in Arabic) nomadic and yet settled in the oasis in the desert; the project team of Eivind, Birgit and Håkon who have stood on that desert and now have rain on their shoes; the museum staff who handle the material and produce the pathway for visitors through the space; and my own contribution, dreamt up over several restless nights late in 2015 thinking the unthinkable in unfired clay.

But increasingly as the days have passed here and the sculptures have taken shape, with their patient, watchful presence, I have been conscious of the plight of present day Syrians and wondering when the conflict will end.


Professor Eivind Heldaas Seland from Bergen University's Archaeology and Religious Studies Department with the 2nd century funerary bust 'Atenatan and Salmat' .


Birgit van der Lans and Håkon Fiane Teigen from Bergen University. My stay here has been made very pleasurable thanks to their hospitality. 


An amazing day when this bust arrived from the Glyptotek with its own truck. It was carefully enshrined in a glass case by Eivind and Håkon. 


Exhume - now completed and waiting patiently to be lit. Re-building this piece in Norway has told me so much about the balance of process and chance. 


Bryggens Museum - built around the original foundations of the medieval town  - an inspiring location to make my work each day. The staff have been amazing.