Death – A Self Portrait – Wellcome Collection, London

commemoration-L0071951”Things at the outer limits of life & death, sexualty & pain’  Phillipe Aries ‘The Hour of our Death’ (1977)

‘ars longa , vita brevis’                ‘life is short, art eternal’

I love the Wellcome Collection, its where I head as soon as Ive set foot in London again. Its iconic & eclectic collections are always fascinating ,and it rightly calls itself  ‘a free destination for the incurably curious’.

In the programme for ‘Death: A Self Portrait’ it reads ”At the heart of this exhibition are questions about art communicating ideas about death and the body. Can the production and appreciation of symbolic artworks help us to negotiate death? What function do inanimate objects play in burial and mourning rituals? How can our possesssions help to activate memories that connect us to the dead?” All these questions relate to the origins and use of puppets, and particularly my continuing by chance investigations into ancient burial relics such as in Almaty, Kazakstan with the Shamanic golden warrior women

and the Shu Dynasty sacrificial site in Cheng Du, China.

wellcome death (1)

Amongst the many artworks and artefacts Richard Harris has collected in just 12 years, ephemera from all across the globe – the ones which directly relate to the artform of puppetry are the most fascinating to me. The ritualistic and spiritual ancestry of puppetry is essentially still part of humankind’s animistic spirit. – the desire to animate the inanimate, resurrect the dead.

Amongst the many amazing images and objects, including Tibetan sacrificial skull cups and Mexican Day of the Dead masks –  the Tau Tau Indonesia wooden funeral figure immediately stands out. The figure acts as a grave guardian, produced in the image of the deceased, to honour the dead and protect their descendants with articulated limbs and what looks like real hair,  it seems he could be puppeteered to life instantly.

wellcome death  American wood & cotton skeleton puppets link to the Medieval ‘Dance of Death’, reminding us that death sets the pace for life’s dance.wellcome death (2)



Change of Heart – theatre from research into cellular memory in heart transplantee’s testimonials & quotes from the heart

Ive been performing my one woman controversial show again – ‘good ideas’ and ‘bizarre contemporary theatre’ said a theatre critic in Perth ,Western Australia, for the full story see –

heartsuitcase fringeworld DL flyerFor more info & video see –

Famous Heart Quotes used in the Show

“The things we truly love stay with us always, locked in our hearts as long as life remains.” Josephine Baker

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Chapter One

‘The Dao (Tao) that can be told of is not the absolute Dao,
The names that can be given are not absolute names
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth,
The named is the Mother of all things.
Often times, one strips oneself of passion in order to see the secrets of life; often times, one regards life with passion, in order to see its manifest results.
These two (the secret and its manifestations) are (in their nature) the same; they are given different names when they become manifest.
They may both be called Cosmic Mystery and this is the gate[way] to the secret of all life.’
John Lennon said ‘When I cannot sing my heart, I can only speak my mind’

Ancient Chinese proverb
‘If I keep a tree in my heart, then the singing bird will come.’

Kahlil Gibran
‘To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.’

Carl Jung
‘Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart … Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.’

Lord Byron
‘There is no instinct like that of the heart.’

‘Wheresoever  you go, go with all your heart.’