The Peculiar Library
20 Views of Cairo, ANCA Gallery 11-29 November 2015
My book is old, maybe 100 years old and it has pictures of old things, it has no words, no author. It is a book of 20 sepia photographs of Cairo…only now there are just twelve left. The staples holding it together are rusted into the fabric of the paper. It’s missing the back cover and the edges of the pages are split and furry … it’s that thick yellowed paper that has a residual sepia imprint on the back of each page. It feels old and worn.
It reminds me of my experience of Egypt, the light, the time encrusted sand, the hand made dissolving slowly in the wind and sun and time; everything slowly dissolving back upon itself.
Egypt, the place of earliest glass…. out of nomadic chance … soda in the sand … a little copper, some silica, some heat … there - glass appears, imperfect, precious, beautiful.
I think of my time as a potter working to capture Arabic lustre, the most elusive of glazes … struggling to turn copper to red and then gold in the atmosphere of my hand made kiln, managing the flame, the oxygen.
Dicing with the wind and with chance.
Then and now not so far apart.
These thoughts run through my mind as I paint about layers of time and light and materiality and the transience of things. Of the beauty and integrity of life and of the stories of our becoming and being and becoming anew.