Howl; Banshee Scream
solo exhibition held at
Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre
In the 1950’s Allen Ginsberg wrote the poem Howl, an epic work which responded to the devastation of his peers and friends who had succumbed to the effects of various mind altering substances or for those who had psychological issues as a result of their situation.
It was also a rail against capitalism and conformity in the United States during that period.
There are 3 parts to the poem with a footnote; each part providing an insight to the machinations of Ginsberg’s life at the time.
My interest in the poem stems from how it expresses Ginsberg’s reaction to life as he experienced it, sometimes through the haze of hallucinogenic drugs and psychotic episodes; I question what life would have been like for him without these filters as well as the prejudices that he faced.
Ginsberg spent his life in pursuit of fairness and equality, he was profound and worldly, he confronted injustice head on.
I think about the activism conducted by Ginsberg and question, to what avail?
In contrast to Ginsberg, I am naive and unworldly, I see injustice and acknowledge its existence but feel powerless to engender change. I support groups who do have influence to create a difference and hope that in time these issues will dissipate.
This series of works depict the human condition as I see it, without too many artificial filters.
Portrayed as landscapes, the images may be haunting and sometimes beautiful, but there is always a powerful silence channelling an underlying energy.
The images in the series are entitled Howl with individual works titled Banshee Scream. In Celtic mythology the Banshee presents herself as a messenger of imminent death.
The Casuarina trees can be interpreted as the Banshee wailing for the death of life as it was which includes not only the loss of our own youthful innocence, but also the degradation of our land through human misuse.