8 mins, 24 sec.
"Hope's Shadow came in response to hearing Isaam Kourbaj talking of his Aleppo soap sculptures, and thinking about the ritual of hand-washing, and its complex connotations. It has been a religious requirement, a way of containing and purifying what is perceived as foul or contaminating. It is an individual performance of a group behaviour, acting as a separation between private and group acts.
Highly socially prised during the pandemic, it now evokes isolation. In the search for infection control, the influence and cross-fertilisation of group contact is not only discouraged but even feared.
Something of the distraught Lady Macbeth, with her 'Out, out, damn spot...will not all the perfumes of Arabia sweeten this little hand?' resonates in our cultural recommendation to scrub after contact with others. The guilt of spreading contagion, of hastening others' deaths, is contrasted with the desired wholesomeness imported from a sweeter, other, place. The trading power of Lady Macbeth now echoes in the global flows of people and goods. Our existential anxiety is beyond the individual expiation of a crime, instead, it is fuelled by participating in the dominant environmental and cultural destruction of our world.
I was struck that the water for washing comes from a common place and returns to it, polluted. I have framed these private rituals of imagined control and isolation, within our context of interdependence and mutual influences.
It's a participatory work, the contributing artists are: Mary Hastillow, Jill Ogilvy, Sue Law, Alec Edgington, Sara Paynter, Alex, Libby and Ben Baraitser, Anne Bean, David Edgington, Andrew James, Clea Godsill, Anneleen Stam, Lisa Alexander, Julie Forrester, and myself."