Congratulations on winning Zealous Stories Craft! Ghosts in the Graveyard addresses climate change -how is this translated through your work?
In 2019 when forest fires were raging and record temperatures were reached in Australia, it was an environmental disaster that I hoped global leaders could not ignore. My own response was one of frustration and helplessness. From those feelings I wanted to produce a body of work that highlighted the problem of global warming. I had been studying the yucca species of plants, as there is a national collection housed in the yuccary at Renishaw Hall, where my studio is based. I became fascinated by the yucca plant’s capacity to regenerate after forest fires and survive extreme weather conditions. This ability to adapt and survive was an inspirational message that I wanted to develop.
As I thought about how the installation would look, I knew that I wanted bleached out, ghostly, yucca inspired forms, haunting the living plants.
A common name for the yucca in Mexico is ‘ghost in the graveyard’ which comes from the high number of them growing wild in graveyards, where their large white flowers appear as ‘ghosts’ in the moonlight. This connection between death and the living, a haunting of spirits not at peace with how they departed the physical world is hopefully a thought provoking one.