Monday, 21 January 2013

The Dragon Tree Arts Installation: A Very Personal Experience

Just wanted to give you a personal insight into my experience launching my exhibition yesterday.
When I went to the Cafe to have a cuppa, a woman came over to me and said,
'Excuxe me, are you the artist who did the installation in The Gallery?'
I felt humbled. My first reaction was to think that she was going to say she didn't like it. Then my next feeling was to reply,
'Er, well, I'm not really an artist, I'm er ... '
But I didn't. I sat up straight in my chair and smiled,
'Yes, my name's Cheryl Beer. How lovely to meet you.'
'Hello, I'm Janet. I hope I'm not interupting your break, it's just that I must ask you about the keys in your installation. The one glued onto the table. Did you choose it because it's a celtic design or because of the significance of the home?'

'That's a really interesting interpretation,' I replied, 'What made you think it was significant to the home?'
Janet shared her story:
'When I was a child, my mother always held tight to her keys. Back in those days, people didn't have very much and their keys must have meant the world to them. We called her 'The Jailor' because of her keys! She had a key to the loo, to the shed, to the back door and to the front door.My mother had her own house and not many people did and I always wonder if she held so tightly to her keys because she felt so proud of her home.'
'That's a beautiful story,' I replied.
I explained that the Dragon Tree live music, dance and film would be showing at the Garden next weekend on 26th January at 1pm and that the main character Dafydd, is on a quest to find himself.
The keys represent him looking outside of himself for the answers but at the end of the story, he finds the key to his quest was inside him all along.
'Oh wow, that sounds fabulous, I must try to make it along. I hope you didn't mind me coming to ask you, it's just that I walked out of the Gallery and I couldn't stop thinking about that key.'
She left saying goodbye and as I turned back round to face Jeff, who was sat opposite me, I had tears in my eyes. I realised, in that moment, that's what art does, it makes people think. They relate it to their own life and their own experience.
And what Janet doesn't know, is that in her kind words, in the sharing of her story and feelings that day, she made me feel like an artist.
When I went back to the Gallery, I took one of the keys from the box and put it in my pocket to give to her if I saw her again during the day. But I didn't. So Janet's key is still with me and will no doubt feature in the next production.
I hope she and YOU can make it along next Saturday.

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