2020 (cyanotype and hand-stitching on fabric)
In Memoriam traces 100 days of COVID-19 deaths in the UK.
When my father died, I took comfort in imagining him finding peace in the stars. Ten years later, the stars still called to me. On a residency in Italy, I created cyanotype prints on fabric from observatory plates of the night sky. Some developed into finished artworks, but several lay forgotten in my studio for years.
This April, after struggling to come to grips with the growing number of COVID deaths, I felt compelled to spend time with the dead, to find a way to be present with that loss. I surprised myself when I began to stitch lost lives into the fabric of the stars. First as a physical record. And then as an action that took on the energy of my fingers’ movements and the emotion in my heart as I sat with and stitched those numbers. As I felt their texture against the sky. A creative ritual that honoured both those lives and my own need to process. In Memoriam is an artwork, but for me it was first a private performance. A shout; a whisper; a cry. An invocation for the living. A mantra for the dead.