Forgiveness was initiated, commissioned, and supported by National Glass Centre in Sunderland England to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. I was commissioned to create a new body of work exploring the theme of peace. With the assistance of National Glass Centre staff and artists I ran workshops with local and Scottish community groups of veterans, asylum seekers, and the elderly with dementia and their carers. The more I worked with these individuals the more it became apparent that without forgiveness it is not possible to achieve a state of peace.
The exhibition explores the process of forgiveness. Inspired by my interactions with the members of the community groups and the Book of Forgiving by Desmond and Mpho Tutu I created of body of work encompassing video, sound, performance, installation, and sculpture, and much of it is interactive. The exhibition is divided into for sections or zones, each one a step in the process of forgiveness. The exhibition brings together a number of people's stories and provides opportunities for visitors to add their own voices and stories.
Forgiveness opened September 29th, 2018 at National Glass Centre and ran through March 24th, 2019. At the private view on September 28th, 2018, I gave a performance recreating the final scene of my sister's bones. Highlife Highland then presented the exhibition at Thurso Art Gallery May 25th, 2019 - July 6th, 2019, and Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, Inverness, Scotland July 13th -24th August 2019. I continue to expand and develop the work and engagement for new future venues.
For each venue, new community groups were engaged. Duty of care is deeply imbedded in my practice before, during, and after engagement. During the run of the exhibition in each venue, a composition book with a pen was left on a bench placed in front of one of the videos in a private feeling space.
Many stories were collected in the book and these are inspiration for further development of the exhibition. You can see the book on the bench in the photo where the bench is left and the film my sister's bones is projected on the right wall.
Visitors could also engrave their stories on three clear glass table tops with a diamond tipped pen. They could also record their stories.
The Four Zones
Similar to the Book of Forgiving, the exhibition is divided into four zones each representing the four steps in the process of forgiving. The first step is telling the story; what happened? Who was involved? What are the facts of the story? Zone two is naming the hurt: How did that make you feel? Zone three is granting forgiveness, and zone four is renewing or releasing the relationship.
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