As with many things, you really had to be there. Once upon a time someone said to me about a work “It’s like the carnival squeezed through this corridor, and didn’t make it, and left a whole bunch of stuff stuck up in the ceiling, in the corners.” I paraphrase, but…. he also said “It’s like you’ve tried to heal the building, and it hasn’t worked, but the healing has become the work.” With ‘The way you have held things’, I did not aim to ‘heal’ people or land in Christchurch, but I did desperately want to make something real, to make something genuine. It has never mattered to me so much what people thought of my work. Because it was about building, structures, shelter. Everything which is most tender in this broken city. The hardest thing was to find the place to speak from. I realised after a good deal of frozen panic, that the place, the places, were my broken places. I may not know the devastation of an earthquake, but I know grief, rage, hope, love. These are the places I worked from. These are the places I spoke from. We watered the ground together. ImageImage

Show the light and the dark

Bury fabric in the earth

Let it be beautiful and carry the earth in its pockets

I would like to make dark places

And sometimes they are not beautiful, they are real caves

Making open gaps to let the light through

Light through dark earth

How do I hold this?

I realised I was building a palace

I want to make you chandeliers

These are our darkest rooms

It will be shaped like now

My cracking lights

My rage comes from other places, but it is the same rage.

The indomitable spirit of tidying shit up

It is full of holes

Your skeleton sticks out

I want to reach in, I want to say, it is not hopeless

Your time, your words


Dripping, spitting

We carry everywhere we have been in lumpy sacks

They dug and dug

Repeated flooding

Scrubbing and scrubbing and it never coming clean

One by one

Try to take out each piece, only as you can,

Only as you can stand it

Do not try to swallow it.

There is a kind of respect in the stacking, and another kind in the throwing

My grief comes from other places, but it is the same, grief.

How to make this?

How to make this.

Images by John Collie, Project part of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu, Outer Spaces programme

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