I was looking for a title for my sculpture project. My mind pushed at the limits of both French and English in the hope that its name would come effortlessly but it wasn’t happening. Even after hours and hours in the studio, getting to know the work and listening to what it had to say, it wasn’t yet answering my question. “Who are you? Tell me your name?”
Each day, through those many quiet hours in the KOAC studio, I realized this silence when it came to the title of the work had to do with the fact that the project is more to me than a series of sculptures. It is a wish.
Working through the endless lonely months of lockdown and isolation, listening to news broadcasting the bizarre state of American politics, and the struggle to control a deadly virus running rampant throughout the world was a lot to process. So, I kept my focus on this sculpture project. It became my refuge. In the serenity of the sunny studio, with no internet, no visitors, and nowhere else to go because of all the Covid restrictions, I had a very quiet winter – a peaceful winter I will always cherish.
And it’s not because I don’t care. I do care. I care very much. It’s not because I didn’t feel the anxiety of the world as it seemed to became more and more divided, angry and scared. Of course, I felt it. But that is the part of me that worries. The other part, the half of me that insists on standing beside those fears, wants to feel the love we humans are capable of. I want to look at my fellow humans and see care, compassion, calm, joy and patience. Each day throughout the winter I constructed that world in the quiet peace of that studio. I made a community of gentle creatures.
Those gentle tree creatures I was constructing slowly came to life, with personalities of their own, as I moulded layer upon layer of cardboard. I got to know each one of them. My mind is filled with little moments of cardboard and glue and cutting blades and saws, mingled with sunlight, wind, dust, and quiet lunches with my lovely dog in the studio. In all those moments, I could quiet my thoughts and breathe deeply. I knew I had something important to do.
In the end, when I saw them standing together in the studio, when I could walk amongst them and feel their strong yet gentle presence, the sculptures finally whispered their names to me. They are The Keepers. They are a community of tree-like beings that hold secrets we have yet to uncover about our world. Secrets we might never be fully equipped to understand but that we should respect and cherish. Like our earthly forests, it feels like my sculptures are keepers of ancient knowledge and infinite potential for life. It feels like they know things we don’t. They are The Keepers.