ANCESTRAL HANDS

ANCESTRAL HANDS GROUP

Hands touch the past and link generations. Digits splay from palms like branches on a wrist-trunk making flesh and bone family trees. Highly individual: hands yield life’s scars, unique prints of fingers and palms and DNA. My father was one of twelve, and when any of them recounted their long list of siblings they always did so to a rhyme - and on their fingers.

 

The carved alabaster hands and feet of Victorian loved-ones became fashionable mementoes of lives cut short, destined to live on under glassy dome propagators in an era preoccupied with death. Centuries earlier, death masks made of wax replicating famous faces were highly collectable - if for no more than reassurance that the notorious among them were dead.

 

Plaster of Paris is a medium that can be made to look and feel like bone, and reminiscent of the scrimshaw produced by nineteenth century sailors who spent hours carving intricate designs onto shells and ivory, as well as another form of indelible markings on skin - the tattoo.

(2005) plaster, wax & pigment: dimensions approximately lifesize

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