A new poem published this morning in ‘Stride’ magazine:
I covered my face with black ink
rounded all my possessions up
and set fire to everything
at the top of a hill.
click here to read the full text.
Photography: ©John Stadnicki, 2018
Nobody belongs, de facto, to just one place, one culture. Our existence is defined by the involuntary interactions with the world in a continuous change, but we like to believe that we do belong. To a place, a space which can be defined and referred to. And when one belongs ‘somewhere’, everything seems easier to quantify, categorise. And, then, it becomes familiar. The common familiarity which emerges through similitude in language, taste, points of view, landscape brings people closer and it helps to build that sense of togetherness.
Most tragedies have been born out of rejection, out of a deep sense of ‘non-belonging’ and people felt mostly bereaved when they realised their uprooting. The recent developments in Europe, with Brexit, in North America, with Trump’s Wall, and across the world in Myanmar, Sudan, Congo, Somalia, Ukraine, Syria, Peru show that we are ‘on the move’ at a global scale. Politics and economics drive the migration at unprecedented levels and can cement a deep sense of social instability.
Millions of people move from one place to another and remain trapped in the complex process of social migration. In 2017, nearly a quarter of a million people came to Britain. And each person brought in a new narrative with elements of uniqueness and subjectivity. We could say that, in 2017, hundreds of thousands of stories came to Britain too. Untold life experiences, unheard voices; hundreds of years of education, culture, music and skills.
And this is the main focus of ‘Who We Are’ a project initiated by the artist Jen Whiskerd from University of Gloucestershire (UoG) supported by many art students, University of Winchester, illustrators, bookmakers, printers, writers, researchers, photographers. Using eight stories about migration (told by Adelaide Morris, Shelley Campbell, Fumio Obata, Anita Roy, Dolores Phelps, Maria Stadnicka, Ro Saul, John Stadnicki), the UoG art students (undergraduate and postgraduate courses) have produced a brilliant book which will be launched this weekend at Museum in the Park, Stroud, Gloucestershire.
The book, printed by Emma Evans UoG, Pittville Press, is a collection of poetry, photography, drawings, journal notes, animation.
The event is free and will take place at the Walled Garden Room, Museum in the Park, Stroud, Gloucestershire /
Saturday 20th Jan. 2018, at 2pm.
Come along to share your story and enjoy the launch or just to listen and to be inspired!
It has been my privilege to be part of this.
Maria Stadnicka, 2018
Photography: ©John Stadnicki 2018
A train passed, at a slow speed,
through iced waters.
It could have taken minutes
or maybe days.
The crushing sound of my doubt,
the unnecessary beauty,
push the march backwards.
Blessed be the stones. So many
are thrown at us from above.
A thousand years of anger in one place.
The graveyard is now in bloom.
Bread-flowers are shooting upwards.
My defeated words, stronger than my weapon.
(Poem published in ‘Stride’ magazine, available here)
Thank you, Rupert Loydell!
(for Katie McCue)
The soldier, asleep by his polished sword,
was somehow surprised.
Such a big storm!
The colours, all of them, disappeared.
The city collapsed in a big crevasse.
When she cried,
The roads, the windows had to be shut
when she needed silence.
The words had to be wrapped in silvery knots
they became people.
The stories stopped being written,
the earth stopped,
the war stopped.
And simply because she had
a fear of butterflies.
The butterflies were not scared of her.