Monday, September 20, 2010

Here Lies Art!

Howdy folks!  
           What a day it has been! The Cat and The Bird have had such a tiring week, moving and assembling sheds, (more of that later), that I thought they could really do with an afternoon out and about in sunny Nunhead, and it just so happened that this weekend was London's 'Open House'. As part of this architectural showcase, there was an art exhibition in the Anglican Chapel in Nunhead Cemetery. The exhibition, 'Here Lies Art!', was inspired by Victorian funeral traditions. Having been buried in the Victorian age, and in this very cemetery, no less, I thought my knackered friends might really enjoy it. So off we went with Maria and Markus. 
   Before we got anywhere near the exhibition we stopped at the Friends of Nunhead Cemetery stall. The cat and the bird were both utterly thrilled to discover honey made by the bees who dwell in a quiet corner of the cemetery. They, the cat especially, had been on a mission to find local honey. Sweet nectar from the top of the road, you can't get much more local than that. It tastes exceptionally good too!! 
    If that wasn't enough excitement for one afternoon, they were both delighted/relieved to have finally filled in the subscription forms to become friends of the cemetery. It's something they'd been planning to do for quite a while now, (eight years, combined total.) The bird also bought a few books on the history and residents of the cemetery, which she was most pleased with. 
Local residents
    The volunteers of the F.O.N.C. appeared to be troopers over the weekend. There were tours around the cemetery, as there often are, which seemed hugely popular, as they always do. There were also opportunities to climb to the top of the chapel. As I was standing in my welcoming position I did hear many mentions of dark, narrow, claustraphobia, nervous disposition, and hard hats. The bird abstained, (she's afraid of heights), and the cat declined. Our friend, Maria (of Greece) did venture to the dizzy heights. In the excitement of it all I forgot to ask her it was. At the other end of the spectrum, they then went down into the crypt beneath the chapel. A bit of a damp spooky place, and possibly not the place to visit if you're easily unnerved by coffins. 

   I must give special thanks to Jolanta Jagiello, artist and curator, who allowed me to welcome people into the chapel. I was photographed; sniffed by dogs; one child was particularly fascinated by my toes; and I also lost and found an eye. It was an eventful couple of hours. But what thrilled me most was to see so many people making the effort to come and see art, and in such a wonderful gallery. 

So, what about the art? Well, it was all based on the traditions of the Victorian funeral. As far as I understand it, some of the pieces were created especially for the exhibition, and some were existing pieces, some of which have been adapted especially for this event.

I will post more pictures in my Facebook album, HERE, but I will end this bulletin with some my favourite pieces of the day...

My regards to you all,


'Rest in Peace' by Julia Peat
Based on: 'In Nunhead Cemetery' by Julia Peat

Me, having a little lie down on the interactive art

'Afterlife' by Sara Scott
Based on: mortal remains


'Ancestral Guardians' by Elisabetta Fumagalli
Based on: ancient standing stones.

'A Bee's Grave' by Megan Mckenzie
Based on: nature's burials


'A Slumber Did Their Spirits Seal'  by Debora Mo
Based on: Victorian lace flowers

'Catacomb' by Jill Rock 
Based on: Unending labyrinth of rooms 


  'Life Death Mask' by Kim Thornton 
Based on: death masks


 'Headless Birds' by Lydia Hardwick
Based on: cemetery birds feeding on worms


 'Nevermore' by Kath Cottee
Based on: the mourning skirt and weeping veil 

1 comment:

The cat said...

It was a great day out, thanks Frank!
So brilliant to have such a wonderful exhibition right on our doorstep too. The F.O.N.C were very friendly, and the honey, oh!
If anyone in the area would like to get some of this delicious nectar email honey'at' some of the profit from the sales goes to the charity Bees For Development and their website is

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