This figure ‘Aine’ came out of a recent trip to Britain, particularly Orkney and Edinburgh.
Orkney is overflowing with ancient historical sites, some dating back more than 5000 years. On some of the smaller Islands I visited, you can be entirely alone with this ancient past. We left those magical Islands reluctantly. Not long afterwards we visited Edinburgh. At the National Museum of Scotland I was fortunate to catch a major touring exhibition called ‘Celts: Art & Identity’. It included towering stone figures, thousands of years old, which breathed an otherworldly sense of timeless wonder and mystery upon visitors like me to this very busy exhibition. I was struck by the surprisingly ‘modern’ and ‘abstract’ decorative style of many of the Iron age artefacts on show, especially a large 2 faced stone figure, more than 2000 years old, found in Germany as recently as the 1990’s. It was out of these experiences that my ideas about creating ‘Aine’ began to emerge.
The theme of the 2016 group exhibition, ‘Welcoming the light’, brought to mind the ancient art I encountered earlier this year in Scotland. It set me to imagining the kind of rituals I could easily picture taking place in the awe inspiring stone circles, burial sites and Neolithic settlements I was able to visit and walk through. I started thinking of solstices and equinoxes that divide the pagan calendar. Seasons are marked by astrological events that measure the longest day and night or the balance of light and darkness. This turned my mind to stories of Celtic gods and goddesses who embody light, mid-summer and fire. And out of this came ‘Aine’.