‘Totems of Hope’ was funded by an Arts Council England ‘Developing your Creative Practice’ award in 2021.
The work functions as an installation of seven 1m x 1.5m textile banners, they symbolise a resurrection of the creative spirit; they are ‘guardians’, a force for hope and unity in an increasingly fractured world.
Sacred banners have long been used as a symbolic tool to communicate the spiritual realm and to celebrate revival and regeneration. I visualise them imparting a grandiose impact in heritage spaces.
The imagery evolved from an analogue collage series evoking the ‘Sacred Feminine’; images of transformation and empowerment reference both modern and classical mythologies, synthesizing ancient Western and Eastern cultural traditions as hybrid ‘totems’. Sources include medieval religious paintings and icons, Tudor/Baroque era royal portraiture, and myriad sculptural and symbolic/natural forms.
The banners incorporate sumptuous velvet and damask fabrics, hand-constructed with all their human imperfections alongside the precision of cutting-edge digital technologies; a fusion of tradition and the contemporary. Embroidered motifs, reminiscent of the Eccliastical, are partly deconstructed by my interventions with the machinery.