Stories of a great flood are universal and can be found throughout history. This piece of work was initially inspired by a drawing of the ark made years ago when my son was young. It has always been among my favourite drawings with it's unselfconscious, confident simple outlines. It set me on a path wondering about what a 'modern' ark might incorporate. My initial thoughts moved to the Seed Banks at Kew, and Svarlbard, which have been set up to preserve the worlds seed diversity in the event of a disaster.
I then came across an article reporting that due to unusually high winter temperatures the ice had melted causing a flood in the Svarlbard Seed Bank. A stark reminder of the erratic weather patterns which are constantly making headlines. As the new millennium unfolds we are facing real uncertainties of sea level rise and retreating coast lines.
So what is an ark?
"Ark: a place offering protection and safety".
Using this definition as a starting point, I have sought to bring together elements of our shared human histories, by using images and text to weave 'conversations' across the past, present and future. The potential and scope for creating an artist book representing the ark, while inspiring, is enormous. I therefore needed to give myself some boundaries and create a focus. Returning to the widely known story re the ark, I chose to reference the biblical story of rains falling for forty days and forty nights. This provides a structure of a total of eighty pages which are then contained within a substantial box.
Using contemporary voices from from Resurgence Magazine as the base from which other voices are drawn, forms another structure for the work. Drawings tracing our history from the first rock drawings, combine with other significant objects to create a narrative where each page references the collective wisdom preserved in numerous cultures through the ages. This wisdom continues to speak to us today. Also included are a few more childhood drawings made at the turn of the millennium which symbolise the voice of the future.
These eighty pages are held between Lunaria annua (otherwise known as honesty seeds). Their inclusion at the beginning and end of the book serve as a reminder of our need for honesty and the 'hard truths' facing us in dealing with these challenges. They are equally a symbol of hope and renewal.
The work will be on show at Turn the Page, Artist Book Fair, Norwich in May.
I am also part of Bookscapes Collective.
Bookscapes is a group of six artists that have developed a group practice specialising in site specific interventions and exhibitions.