Postscript is the title borrowed from a Seamus Heaney poem that describes a transitionary moment by the sea, the sight of swans on a lake and the joyous, deep love he holds for being alive and proud of his homeland, Ireland. Having lived in Ireland for a number of years this joy and love is one I have shared with the people of Ireland for their beautiful landscape and culture and is one I am growing to find in my own homeland of Essex.
And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.
Postscript by Seamus Heaney, from The Spirit Level 1996
The work navigates my personal journey through environmental activism and in the return to my homeland of Essex, a journey in connecting with people who are navigating theirs too.
Having been born and raised in Essex since birth, I first left in 2014 to pursue my undergraduate degree. I went on to spend the next 7 years studying, moving, and travelling in search of people just like me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt like the odd one out. I found it strange to grow up in a place that felt so absorbed in partying and ‘glam’ culture, a concept I was so disconnected to.
I found myself in the middle of grassroots environmental activism upon my move to Belfast. At the time I was making work around the concept of Rewilding and ended up amid an environmental uprising with the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion. My involvement in the movement peaked during the heart-breaking destruction of the biodiverse wetland, Lough Beg, home of the migrating whooper swan, the destruction that we as an environmental activist group worked hard to put a stop to.
By investigating my ideas of belonging, those of which that feel like they are often mirrored in my relationship with the natural world I am delving into themes of personal identity and the identity I have carried with me from a childhood spent growing up in Essex.