Creative Global Network for the Visual Arts

Air-dried clay sculpture of anthropomorphic bird woman 7 x 4 cm, kneeling on a wooden bed with hand-sewn bedding and mattress filled with earth.


I'm in a garden, it's dusk. Where the lawn would normally be is moist, rich soil, ploughed and ready for planting. There are deep furrows. I walk across to get a closer look at a depression in the centre, sinking into the soil as I go. I spot a shiny black creature in one of the furrows and discover that the soil is full of life.

In the centre there is mud. There are fish flailing around and other amphibious creatures. The centre begins to fill with water and I can see more fish springing to life. The water is coming from a hose pipe which has become twisted in the ground so that no water can flow to keep these creatures alive. It's a fish pond that has run dry. I tread on the pipe and dislodge it from its state of non-flow to flow. As the water fills the sunken centre of the garden, mud is washed away and the creatures are revealed in all their primordial glory.

Water continues to flow, and the depression fills and morphs into a glass tank. I can see that there are some creatures who did not survive and who have been dead for a while. There's a large frog, pale and decaying just below the surface, and a tropical fish. There are two underwater creatures that look a bit like sheep but they have no legs or ears, swimming. They're wearing collars made of teeth and fangs.

The dead are being devoured by the living, although the bloated decaying frog may need to be removed by hand. But only because it is unpleasant to watch them feeding.

(extract from How Shall I Get Elephants To Stay – a book of deams).

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