Art of Grief

As an artist I am involved in creating spaces and installations in community settings using dust, video and sound to make environments where audiences can reflect on their own stories and relationships to grief. 

The Mourner:

Lamentation in Dust

ANTI- Contemporary Art Festival,

Kuopio Finland.

September 2019

Working in a disused industrial warehouse and wearing black mourning clothes the space was ritually swept over a period of five days. Audience were present during the making of the work which happened over the duration of the exhibition period. The space was activated, dust and debris collected and the materiality of death made evident through the making of dust memorial stones. The Mourner attended the crumbling dust monuments, sweeping, gathering and ordering the remains. She carefully cared for the discarded remnants inviting the audience to reflect on mourning and the separation felt between the dead and the living.

Lucy Willow

At Sea Again:

A Sea Burial 

Shown as part of Many and Beautiful Things exhibition, Exchange Gallery Penzance 2018-19. 

Lamorna Village Hall, July 2018

A memorial artwork depicting a sea burial off the coast of Cornwall.

At Sea Again is a memorial artwork to Jack Perry (02/11/90 – 19/08/06) in the form of a short film depicting the scattering of ashes off the coast of Cornwall. Ten years after his death in 2006 his ashes were scattered at sea near Cot Valley in St.Just, Cornwall.

 The narrative in the film uses the lyrics from the song Ocean Rain by Echo and the Bunnymen reworked into a final letter to Jack to accompany the visual imagery of his ashes being scattered at sea.  The sea in the film has become a haunted memorial ground; I imagine him residing in its deep waters and feel it is a space communication takes place between us.  

Lucy Willow

Cafe Morte

Cafe Morte have curated a number of projects, exhibitions and public lectures. These include Lost For Words exhibition 2013 an international exhibition curated by Falmouth University students and Tears of Things, a collection of broken objects and narratives shown at the Exchange Gallery in Penzance in 2018. 

Cafe Morte looks at the way in which visual culture represents death and dying, mourning and grieving through art, dreams, desires, imagery and poetry.

CAFE MORTE is a up research group made up of senior lecturers, undergraduate and postgraduate students from Falmouth University, curators and artists. Its central focus is to discuss the rich and varied themes of death found in art and literature. We have adopted the model of the recently popular Death Cafe’s, which have arisen worldwide as a meeting place in which to discuss death over a cup of tea. CAFE MORTE is art in the wake of death.

In the wake of death, the space after, creativity takes place. Death and dying are integral to art and literature. Death generates a creative response in artists, writers and the individual through memorializing and making visible the space it occupies. Is creative expression elevated through loss? Does it become richer and deeper? Following death a metaphorical postmortem occurs where the space of death is examined, analyzed, questioned, taken apart and reassembled through writing, music, performance, ritual or visual art. Death rites bring out creativity.

Lucy Willow

The Grief Cabinet

The Grief Cabinet contains stitched anthropomorphic forms made from hospital sheets, wax, bone, hair and thread creating a material presence of mourning focusing on parental bereavement and the ‘channeling’ of grief into an object, artwork. The forms focus in particular on the role of the mother and how she continues caring for the dead following the death of a child. The animal/human stitched works in the cabinet speak directly into a mothers longing. The series of sewn objects generated from individual and cultural narratives of grief address how grief effigies can generate a dynamic encounter with bereavement, depression and melancholia that surround it.

Lucy Willow

This project was made for Grief and The Arts Conference in Leuven, 2018.(Belgium) An Interdisciplinary Conference.