Tag Archives: poetry

Pistols and Pollinators

Pistols and Pollinators is an exhibition sharing the manifestations of an experimental project that required participants to deconstruct the methods intrinsic to their creative practices and push the limits of genre and classical boundaries.

Accident & Emergence, together with poet Jacqueline Saphra matched 28 artists & poets to work in collaborative partnerships. For 6 months the pairs have been sharing their techniques, experience and creative process in order to generate dynamic new works that combine linguistic and visual modes of address.

The pairs have embraced both the possibilities and problems of collaboration, shifting the balance of their individual practices towards an economy of shared ideas. Establishing and exploring common concerns across their respective disciplines, the pairs have taken varied approaches to the idea of working together, cultivating performances, furniture, archives of letters, journeys, rituals and alter egos.

Recently I have been involved in Pistols and Pollinators; a collaborative project between artists and poets over a period of several months which culminated in a show at Stoke Newington Library Gallery.

Stoke Newington Library Gallery

Different types of collaboration emerged amongst the artists and poets; one pair wrote to each other using the postal system and sent each other objects for investigation. Another pair played on the immediacy of first impressions by painting and writing back and forth in response to each others work in a painterly/poetic conversation. Another pair explored Diasporas and secret keeping in families. Another pair examined their experiences of different dwelling places through poetry and installation. One pair made poetic notes, doodles and drawings in the same sketch book, knitting streams of thought across the paper. Some pairs crossed into their partner’s territory; artists doing poetry and poets doing art. They said this approach opened up a whole new dimension to their practice.

Other Wall

I partnered with Sh’maya to produce a triptych in response to his Three Arias.

Study for Three Arias

My collaboration with Sh’maya has been going on longer than this project itself. The Three Arias was an (as yet) unwritten concept he had in mind for a couple of years. It was after some time we spent together (see last post) that he began the writing process to birth the idea into written form and I subsequently responded to them visually.

Exhibition textMy starting point was to take the idea of ‘Threeness’ expressed in the Arias by using three equilateral triangles for emphasis – three x three. At first I found it challenging to be moved by the poems. My first idea to overcome this block was to play the audio recordings and paint whilst I listened. That got me started, but I soon felt it was important to engage with them more rationally or consciously. After many readings I began to sense their rhythmical pace and the suggestiveness of the words offered visual ideas; I allowed the tempo and imagery of each poem to inform my handling of paint and bodily movement.

Painting entitled "First Aria"

First Aria (2010)


The time

I was drinking tea

In the garden

Watching the ivy bush

At the end of the lawn


It was there

Lay the final embers of the sun

Languished breath hovering

Lowing orange and echoless

Cross the flow of the ivy


The leaves hung swollen

Suffused in light

Fertile in foetal white

Igniting the chlorophyll phosphorescent


Through slats of the garden lattice


Their shapes were smattered and splashed

By shadows of bush twigs

Slashed swooning over lunar chimeras

Fingers of cirrus reaching silhouettes

Past breadths of shimmering moons


The wind brushed through them in such a way

As to tremble their frames

In the radiance thus contained

Sonar flames

Straining through depths

Of waning coronas

Shuddered hushed and reverent

As emerald flares luminescent

In the roaring blush of a dying day


Between the ivy bush and I

Writhed a swarm of horseflies

Spinning frenetic ecstatic

In the pool-parched air


Each one drenched full in sunset

Starched wet in naked rays

Of aching dusk strayed across

Their flailing movements

A chaos of sun drops and TV static

Feral seething manic

Sporadic flight paths

Weaving poly rhythms

Twining patterns

Wings chiming over through and round

Globes of schismed sound

Splashing mirage shimmers and breezes

As raindrops sneezing on djembe-skins


The dance of the swarm

Poured wistful warm

Adorned the awning of the ivy

In crystalline storms

Fistfuls of lightshaft

Clasped enblissed

‘pon carnivals of fire

Marvels of flight-shine

Enlivened in light

That parts the edge of day

And the timeless charting

Of fledgling stars

Painting entitled "Second Aria"

Second Aria (2010)


The time I was praying cross-legged

In my room

An incense stick burning

On the wicker stool

By the mattress

As I was praying

I opened my eyes

To a single wisp of smoke

Floating fathomless before me

Its slender figure sliding and writhing tender

‘neath the butter flesh breaths

Of my lips

I realised my prayers

Were flickering

Through the incense

Dappling its timbre

Sloping its stems

Curves fleshed from my essence

As petals unfurling through

Camomile limbs

It struck me

The groans of my spirit

Taking physical states

As the smoulder billowed

On the moans of its marrow

Barren blushes

Furrowing the rush

Bones drawn in hush

Gowned warm in the taste

Swathed in sounds of my want

Wrapped round as swaddling cloth

Lacing nascent clouds

I became aware of every movement

Every patter of desire

Pleating the syllables of smoke

Floating as scrawled notes

Wrapped indelible

Through the rote of my spirit

Pirouetting flight

Of wisps light-borne

Reached willow and saffron

Past the sills of my eyes

Tides torn through winds

The metre of wings

Beating drafts through the ether

Drapes of the dawn

Bursting gasps

On the shores of my skin

The room doused heavy with fragrance

Flora auras sating the chorus

The need the heart-cry

Mire of earth soil of my womb

Crooning for seeds of Heaven’s fire

Where toil bleeds bloom of myrrh

Purrs the anguish to pearls

Felled fertile ‘pon fallow worlds

Depths hallowed through shallows bereft

Kisses left nesting in clefts of shadows

I sat draped in the grain

A motionless rain shower

Strained through the shape

Of source and matter

So my entire room was scattered

In patterns enticed

When light smatters passage

Between earth and paradise

Painting entitled "Third Aria"

Third Aria (2010)


The time I was walking

Through the forest

Surrounding the monastery

I was staying in


I came to a fork in my path

One way bringing stillness

The other a boundless roar

Pounding the very hush of my heart


I followed the sound to a wooden bridge

That overlooked a stretching lake

Between them

Poured a waterfall

Panting breathless


I stood there stalled

Pulled by the water

Enthralling my senses

To rest mesmerised

In its screaming gait



I made my eyes drop

At the same rate of the fall

Drinking for split seconds

The forms beckoned out from the foam

Mystical bodies

Inexpressible things

As though water

Travelling such speed

Ceases to reflect that of earth

But sculpts the faces and moulds

Of transcendental realms


Thus it swelled

Cascading and crashing

White clashing foam crushing close

Gushing cool-cold kisses

Kissed capricious crisp

Encroached through bliss and glint and gold

Crests of feathers

Cloud-clasped delicious

The rush of crowds

Clustered in hisses

Chrysanthemum petals

Creased in flusters

Where platinum wrestles

Fleeces of milk

Wings of snow angels coalesced

Flesh collapsed in glacial jewels

Crashed colossal

Chrome caressed

Splashed palatial

Constella wombs

Wombing stems of

Breath and essence

Increasing Elysium

In effervescence

Coliseum blending to spires capsized

As stalactites chimed

Through glockenspiel sighs

Swan flocks scything


Diving kamikaze

As spinning-tops

Skimming skin of


Pocketing spray

The rain rejoices

Plunged and risen as glistened noises

Voices christened

In stories hoisted from hosts most moistened

By wet most whet

Set in chorus of castanets

Clapped cataclysmic

Splash-swept dash of cosmic districts

Flashed and flecked ecstatic fresh

Blessed and blithe

In high choir cries

Caressing trestles of classical heights

Brushing scalps of decibel mountains

Mounting fount crescendos flushed

Cumuli rush and crystal-cleansed

Creatia gasps caress the gusts

Blush the glass of Heaven’s lens

Mending the crevice

tween hearth and soul

Wetting the coals

Shoaling the lonely

Sweating the path

Clothing the lowly

Holy upon holy upon holy upon holy


As I looked up from the waterfall

A single white gull

Circled skywards

Climbing silent

The pining void

Of the lake

Copyright @ 2010 Sh’maya

In the final brush marks I surprised myself to find that the image of the white gull flying away at the end of the Third Aria, S(WET) had emerged accidentally in my painting at the top of the waterfall.  Since the pieces were all about the thin line between the spiritual and natural dimensions, this seemed a fitting end to the painting process.

I was looking at Renaissance paintings for inspiration in this triptych and the kinds of colours used in religious painting informed my palette.

The preview combined an art exhibition with poetry performances.


Abi Rach Hannah

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Painted Verse

This series of paintings comes from a collaboration with poet and soundscape artist, Sh’maya. Fragments, on-the-move, are taken from Sh’maya’s past; haikus drawn from travel notebooks, poems scrawled on work-break napkins, thoughts lifted from diaries, paper scraps, back-pocket sketches. These are not add-ons over pre-painted surfaces, but the formal/conceptual mechanism driving the process throughout. The stencil set became a structural devise to introduce routine and technique to the painting process. Words form the concrete basis; stenciled to the surface, painted over, edited, lost and found til they speak synonymously with the form of the paint. Poetic imagery breeds pictorial language. An unashamedly Romantic approach binds this relationship; a language of longing, mystery, hope, space and sea. It emerges an exploration of ut pictura poesis, ‘as in painting so in poetry.’


Last May I discovered a metal stencil set hidden away in a cupboard. I was fascinated by these old and redundant sets in two sizes, and wanted to incorporate their use into my painting.  Text has often crept into my work and there seemed a lot of scope here.  I dug further and also found a plastic school stencil set.  About half an hour later I received an email:

‘I have an idea which could be a proposal…….I sometimes come up with little poems which plant themselves in my head. They don’t feel right to be performance pieces and I get a little bored with standard read poetry -I was thinking that a really interesting way of releasing them would be joined with art – they are short enough to fit on canvas and I guess are quite invoking of visual response….’

This timely email formed the basis of a collaboration with Sh’maya.



Last October, Sh’maya came over for a few days and wrote some poetry in my working space as I continued to paint. He was particularly inspired by the old books piled up on the wall and made a list of the titles that grabbed his attention.  I tried to memorise the titles and remove the ones I could remember from the pile, whilst listening to something he was creating on his loop station.

We created an installation by categorising the books by title and then incorporating them with other objects that seemed resonate with the categories.

This collaboration is continuing in the context of an Accident and Emergence project called ‘Pistols and Pollinators’

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