Thursday, 18 January 2018

Arabella Dorman: Suspended

"Suspended seeks to highlight the situation of thousands of refugees - men, women and children fleeing war, persecution and famine for the hoped-for safety of European shores... hung between loss and hope, suspended between a past to which they cannot return and a future to which they cannot move."

To St James's Church, Piccadilly to see this impressive installation - Suspended - by Arabella Dorman. It consists of 700 items of clothing and shoes, now artfully hung above the central nave space in St James's. The clothes formerly belonged to refugees, and were salvaged by war artist Dorman from the beaches of the Greek Island of Lesbos. Suspend was created as a way of bringing the refugee crisis back into the spotlight at Christmas time, and as a way of raising funds for the Starfish Foundation (here). It is a really poignant installation, especially the children's tiny clothes and shoes. Little ones should never have to experience situations like this. One can't help but recall those heartbreaking photos of the body of three year old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi on the beach having lost his life after drowning on the journey to Kos as his family fled the war in Syria. There is a section at the back of the church where visitors are invited to examine and handle some of the collected refugee clothes. St James's is a beautifully historic church designed by Christopher Wren. It was consecrated on 13th July 1684, and contains some superb examples of wood carving by Grinling Gibbons. William Blake was also baptised here in 1757. Suspend is a really thought provoking installation, and a great use of art in a sacred space. It is a timely reminder of our inhumanity towards one another, and a reminder to do better, and be kinder. 

Suspended: Arabella Dorman
until 8th February
St James's Church