Working with unfired clay and using a naked flame to mark the surface as well as decorating with non ceramic materials allowed me to view the clay as purely a material and free it from its associated steriotypical possibilities. This work is a memorial for the people of Darfur. It was inspired by two Kadaru dung bowels made by the Nuba people of Sudan. They were in the Hornimam Museum, S.E London and made out of cow dung having only an outer coating of clay slip that held them together. The slip was decorated with geometrical patterns painted on with whitewash, bluing and charcoal. It was the surface decoration that attracted me as well as the fact that they were unfired. Their fragility was all the more poignant as these type of bowels are made for wedding breakfasts.
During research I came across a Sudanese artist living in New York called Khalid Kodi. He had made a landscape work in which he burnt a massive field of grass with fire, leaving scorched markings in patterns that were similar to those on the dung bowls. On contacting him he directed me to You Tube and the horrors happening in Darfur. Initially I had hoped to make an object about body adornment as the Nuba traditionally scar their bodies with patterns. These bangles are about Western forms of adornment and nail polish has been used on their surface. During the making I felt this was too frivolous an interpretation so I have created designs with a naked flame which makes reference to all those people that have lost their lives, being burnt out of their homes by the Sudanese Government Militia. The flame marks draw attention to the fact that the clay is unfired which parallels the fragility of life. Once clay is fired it becomes very permanent but unfired it can easily turn to dust as those people have in death.
Each of the bangles can be seen as representing a life lost.
Working with paperclay allowed me to mix a consistency that was more akin to paint than clay and I was able to print into the surface creating textures and pattern.