Peace is all around 2015

The song No trouble on the mountain (1974) sung by American soul musician Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes, inspired a visual narrative with text to comment on the asylum seeker arrivals. The lyrics describe how being on the top of a mountain would avoid the ‘trouble down here below’, alluding to a turbulent relationship. Imagining the desperation and hope of refugees (traveling by boat) as the sight of land approaches, encouraged the deployment of these words into a new narrative. Work developed to include layers of colour, in contrast to the plates, and required many firings to achieve depth. The choice of form (decorative rather than functional) echoes the surface narrative, as both retain a distance from physical involvement. The image of boat, land, and sea are portrayed from the outside, seen from afar. The form, closed and straight-walled suggest it is to be displayed rather than used. However, the rendition of the text and the words in particular are undeveloped. The text is not incorporated into the visual images, often sitting on top of the landscape. As the form is turned, a circular frame holds the image of a small fishing boat in a large expanse of sea. Surrounding the circular motif, a loose ribbon is drawn with another phrase from the song: peace is all around me. My aim with this work was to recreate the uncertainty and disillusionment felt by refugees as they leave their homeland. The work produced a discomforting scenario, where juxtapositions between text, proclaiming peace and imagery and a jagged cliff face created an incongruity.

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