Celebrating Mike deeply moving and poignant work by Anita Davies, charts the relationship between artist and Death row prisoner, through their letter writing until his death. The relationship is explored through installation spaces, time and bunting.
A Collaboration: Florida USA Mike’s cell
A Collaboration; Dymock, UK, Anita’s space
Passing of time
From the artist..
When Mike was put under the Stay of Execution, due to Florida’s Death penalty being declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court I wanted to stand close and be distracting/supportive/ and absolutely there for him, so The Chain came into being, which actually held 389 links (all the prisoners on the row at the time).
The art work I then added to the content of my letters to Mike which I had increased so that he received a letter each week. Interestingly he had always maintained poetry and art were not really his thing and that he knew little about them (some of his more favoured interests being theology and cosmology). Anyways I finally managed to get some of the photos accepted through the mail room, and left him to send me comments, without giving him my creative reasons and decisions.
The three part installation made specifically for this exhibition explores some of my gains and losses from corresponding with this remarkable man whom I hold in awe and gratitude.
Celebrating Mike The bunting is in a letter form, made up from his letters over this period. Mike’s words spell out in the bunting, how letters give the opportunity for deeper exploration and understandings. What comes through, and just amazed me, was realising he may not have known specific artists, or works, or the history of art, but intuitively he understood art’s connectivity, and in his inimitable way gave expansion to the chain, not just connecting those on death row, but us all. (see his invitation…..)
The Two further installation spaces, A Collaboration: Florida USA and A Collaboration; Dymock, UK hold many connotations. For me it honours the old fashion gift of letter writing; the reality of a Death Row Cell and how difficult it was at first to overcome difference, when communicating; the books, just a few of those he recommended to me in my quest to understand the world as it is, particularly in all its tragic places. The Lucifer Effect which we both think is a classic must for all. The interactive writing of a chain link Mike invites us to make, may just give people the sense of actually belonging to this inclusive life we all share… it will have a life of its own, because as yet we don’t know how it will expand or where it will go……………….
Celebrating Mike is part of the In the Middle of Somewhere exhibition, currently showing at Canwood Gallery.
Tuesday – Sunday 11pm – 4pm
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