|1 Jul 2021|
Voices on the Wind was proposed and completed with the support of St Mary’s and St Margaret’s. This amazing project enabled both schools to work with award-winning artist and Alumna, Arabella Dorman, on a collaboration across 3 sites.
Each member of the school community was given two flags that they could record thoughts, prayers, poetry, and pictures conceived by them in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. These designs were hand-drawn in indelible ink on the vertical (portrait) axis of the flag and signed by each student and member of staff.
With 349 St Mary’s, 180 St Margaret’s pupils, 418 members of Staff and 12 Governors, more than 1600 flags were made, sewn onto lengths of cord, and installed above the Art Courtyard with the power of all our sentiments going out ‘on the wind’.
Arabella Dorman said: “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things.”
Voices on the Wind is an artwork borne of our time, a time of pandemic and crisis in which all the old certainties are being shaken and we find ourselves in a permanent state of the unknown. At such a time, I find myself searching for a light in the darkness by reflecting on the lessons that might be learnt from the terrible suffering and long months of lockdown.
For many it has been a time of unreconciled loss, fear, and confusion. For others however, it may have become a time of profound awakening, an opportunity for re-assessment as we accept the challenge to re-learn ourselves and in doing so, to re-find the common threat that binds the mosaic of life together.
Voices on the Wind is an expression of what pupils across the country and at St Mary’s and St Margaret’s have come to learn through this pandemic, what they may have come to value and become more aware of. It is a phoenix rising from the ashes, an invitation to come together in these difficult days through the power of artistic expression and collaborative connection. It is my hope that the wind gathers and remembers these voices, then sends them talking and telling through the leaves and the fields. In such a way, the flags go from being one thing, to a gesture that incites us to emulate their transformation, and to embrace the change that has been thrust upon us.
In a world dominated by media and technology, there is a growing tendency to process our lives by looking down at our smartphones and screens. By contrast, as you walk under this harmony of blues, Voices on the Wind is an invitation to look up, to look beyond, and to hope. In the darkest times, hope is not a gift but something we earn through resisting the ease of despair, through cutting windows and opening new doors. It is my hope that Voices on the Wind is an offering of such doors that in turn might open on to new possibilities. “
Kimberly Appleyard Pallot, Director of Art said: “As we all begin the process of returning to 'normal', Voices on the Wind acted as an invitation for the community to reflect, individually and collectively, on what they might have learnt or experienced throughout the pandemic; it has indeed challenged every one of us in one way or another, with our interconnectedness now more visible than ever before. Each person was invited by the Art School to share an expression of what they may have come to value, understand, or appreciate more deeply, and what they may have become more aware of. Now, more than ever, we are connected by our spirit, technology, and are much more than the sum of our parts; we are united in our colours, sentiments beyond the various locations of the St Mary’s Calne Community, but to the local, national, and international community by the collective and shared power we create. We marked this moment with a focus on community togetherness and embracing change, positivity, and reflection on how we move forwards together.
These reflections or ‘appreciations’ were transcribed onto flags in the tradition of Tibetan prayer flags and hung horizontally across the Art Courtyard. Collectively, these ‘appreciation’ flags form a powerful expression of hope, shared creativity and resilience, and a deepened awareness through adversity, as we emerge from this pandemic into a new beginning.”
“The wind is us. It gathers and remembers all our voices, then sends them talking and telling through the leaves and across the fields.”
Click here to see more of this wonderful initiative.
Elizabeth with former colleagues (L-R) : Anne Thornton, Rebecca Spicer, Hilary Malcolm, Jenny Moore, (Elizabeth Rothwell), Sara-Jane Socha, Louise Pavey, Sally Hornby. More...