It seems so strange that just a matter of weeks ago, I had returned from London having visited two very different but equally thought- provoking exhibitions. With the recent turn of events forcing almost the entire world into lockdown, I have recently been reflecting on those exhibitions in different ways.
The 24/7 exhibition at Somerset House was billed as ‘a wake-up call for our non-stop world’ – ironic now that stopping is exactly what so many of us have had to do. I have been thinking, over the past few weeks, of a particular piece by Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos entitled Fifteen Pairs of Mouths. It featured fifteen pairs of hands cast in plaster, each with it’s own unique shape and gesture mimicking the way that a mobile phone is held and used for texting. The work highlighted what the artist believes we are losing, as our voices and gestures are increasingly replaced by the movement of our thumbs. The title challenged the definition of the word ‘speak’.
During the lockdown, so many people across the world have had no choice but to press pause on their normal daily lives. However, in contrast to the artist’s opinion of modern technology overtaking more traditional ways of talking, many have experienced that it is exactly this evolution in communication that has played an enormous part in helping people feel less isolated. Individuals and communities have reached out to support each other, new friendships have been made, skills have been learnt, forgotten interests have been rediscovered, and people have shared information and advice supporting one another – all striving to make a difference to each other’s very different lives. I have been hugely uplifted by the way that technology has aided people to get through these difficult times.
Apart from being struck by the installation’s bold and striking simplicity, I was mainly drawn to the hands from a different angle. I firmly believe that I communicate with my hands, not through texting but as a jeweller through the act of creating. When making my jewellery, I often find that the best pieces evolve and flow from my hands quite naturally. I suppose subconsciously I have been formulating a design in my head and refining the technicalities without actually realising and it is this creative voice that gives me, like so many artists and craftspeople, an outlet to ‘speak’ with such pleasure and joy.
I have been so grateful for the fact that my workshop is situated at home and I have managed to continue working on new pieces throughout the lockdown. Taking basic materials and transforming them into objects of beauty and style through my own creative communication has played such a large part in my well-being through this time.
For my birthday last year my daughter hand embroidered a piece for me saying ‘Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world’ – in my case I use my hands. I wonder how you share or communicate yours?
Next month’s blog will be about the
Tutankhamun – Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, London