Thursday, 22 November 2018

LOUISE DONOVAN - TEXTILE ARTIST - HER 2018 EXHIBITION IN ST IVES - PART TWO

In my second post in this series of four celebrating Louise Donovan's exhibition in the Crypt Gallery in St Ives, Cornwall (November 10-16), my focus is on Louise's political textile art. In the first post - press this link here - 'The March for the Alternative' (2012) was highlighted. Now, in this blog-post, there are two more examples of political textile art from the exhibition that warrant closer attention.

First, here is the piece that Louise exhibited in the NEC Birmingham in 2015 at the annual Festival of Quilts: 'Gaza' (2015).


Gaza - Louise Donovan (2015)


The original inspiration for this work came from a newspaper cutting - a Sunday colour magazine page - that showed a devastated urban landscape in Gaza, the buildings flattened, with one piece of red, velvety fabric covering a pile of house debris in an otherwise grey picture of devastation. That image is lost. The picture below carries a similar message of hope and life amid the destruction - red



is the colour of the blood spilt but it is also the colour of the blood flowing through the veins of those of us who are alive and able to join in the struggle for justice in the name of humanity.



Gaza - a scene from a war-zone in the Middle East


Truth, they say, is the first casualty of war. Central to the Christian theory of a Just War is the truth that non-combatants should never be targeted. Yet, in armed conflict today a legitimate military target is often whatever your side declares it to be. The Germans bombed London in WW2 and civilians died. Our state then bombed German cities and civilians died. The Israeli government responds to attacks from those taking up arms to establish a Palestinian state by insisting the state of Israel only attacks military targets in retaliation - and non-combatants die.

From war-zones to the privileged peace and stability of life in our home town of St Ives. Our Private Opening on Saturday 10 November was graced by a score and more of guests and Leo Walker, our photographer - see this link here - took some fine digital images, including this one of our guest, Stephen Vranch, the Branch secretary of the local Labour Party:


Stephen Vranch - one of our guests - Secretary of the St Ives Labour Party Branch


The second piece from the exhibition I would like to highlight is this one that Louise exhibited in the NEC Birmingham in 2014 at the annual Festival of Quilts: 'Guantanamo' (2014).


Guantanamo - Louise Donovan (2014) 

'Guantanamo' was given the Judges' Award at this annual Festival in 2014. Its inspiration came from multiple sources but this image below - from the American detention base - is a powerful contributing element with the faceless figures of the standing guards; the subjugated prisoners; the vividness of the orange uniforms; the barrenness of the ground; the barbed wire in the background. All become absorbed in this abstraction of the reality of Guantanamo:


The reality of Guantanamo


The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a United States military prison located within Guantanamo Bay naval base which is on the coast of Cuba. It was set up in the aftermath of 9/11 in 2001 and the Bush declaration of a war on terror. Inmates have been detained illegally without trial and allegedly severely tortured. Amnesty International see the operations of this camp as a major breach of human rights.


Louise Donovan with family and friends - Leo Walker's mother and his wife, Larisa, in the foreground 


Louise Donovan is a supporter of Reprieve, the organisation founded in 1999 by Clive Stafford-Smith, the British human rights lawyer, to campaign against the death penalty across the globe and provide free legal and investigative support to those on death row and others victimised by states' abusive counter-terror policies. Clive Stafford-Smith has represented the legal interest of many held in Guantanamo - press here for a link to Reprieve.


The Crypt Gallery - Louise Donovan's Textile Art Exhibition - November 2018 - featuring, from left to right, Stairway to Heaven, Guantanamo, My Mondrian Moment, and The March for the Alternative.


In my third and next blog-post in this series, I will feature Louise Donovan's textile art inspired by the holy island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea.