Sometimes when I am reading, I come across a sentence or phrase that stops me in my tracks. I forget what I have been reading about previously and am unable to continue. The phrase repeats over and over in my head and with each repetition a different shade of meaning arises.
It happened when I heard Amy Macauley performing her long poem ‘Oedipa’ when she came to the line “the truth only exists in extraordinary circumstances”. And most recently when I read “Identity is a walled concept”……a statement by writer Ben Okri in an article about cultural appropriation.
I have been working on a large painting about the Amy ‘quote’ on and off for two years – it is proving difficult to paint, almost certainly I am waiting for ‘extraordinary circumstances’. Ben Okri’s statement is still whirring around waiting for an outlet, perhaps an exhibition. Identity – that we all think we pursue to discover, fight to protect, that we feel in different ways – ultimately a prison, an obstacle rather than a home, something Dante and Buddhist dharma hunters aim to burst through.
As artists and writers we are often encouraged to ‘find your voice’, a core strand of your work that links to who you are……and if it flows out from a ‘walled concept’ deep inside us, should we be aiming to get beyond it?
Richard Sharland 17th June