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Rosalind Barker Artist

Dzifa Benson Performance Poet

‘EPITAPH’ For 'Pistols and pollinators 1'

Installation Sculpture. Graphite drawing on life size cotton sari, oak, wire, gypsum and tissue.


Inkjet print on clear film, wall mounted with Iron nails.


Artist Rosalind Barker and Performance Poet Dzifa Benson both share an interest in connections between contemporary humanity, the unborn and cultural attitudes to the dead. They sought initial inspiration at their first introductory meeting at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London

In 1984 Rosalind had acquired through marriage a box containing half a human skeleton intended as a tool for Medical/Artistic education. It was decided that exploration of both our attitudes to this remnant of a once living personality and consciousness would be the inspiration for the collaborative project.
A research project followed .The box, with its 1953 postage stamps and original labels led to an exchange of information with the initial importers, Adam, Rouilly. Tiny fragments of The Financial Times from the early 1950’s were found as part of the packing material and fuelled further speculation
A medical examination of her bones and teeth established a 100-year time line directly connecting her across time and continents from an India under the rule of the British Raj (1858-1947) to our contemporary 21st century culture.
We became a trilogy of collaborators, one of whom was lost, decaying to invisibility.

In ‘Epitaph’ we summon her presence and essence into our time and city. Giving her a belated beauty and reverence in her death. Wrapping her bones in poetry and a hand drawn sari.

‘Journey’ is the visual consolidation of our research process


‘Ask Freud’ for ‘EIDOS’                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Porcelain, plaster, acrylic, household dust and debris situated in a glass case.


Traditional figurines’ conformism is manifest in their reflection as a behavioural model regarding social class, gender and aspiration. They are cultural artefacts that may allude to beliefs, myths and rituals.

Barker’s dust figures are a mix of found and created plaster artefacts. In the dust figurines the artist mimics and references the mass-produced factory object while instilling time and effort into the creation of each individual hand crafted piece referencing the time taken for dust to accrue. The dust is applied with painterly precision; dust is the substance that holds life together and could be viewed as a witness to human physical and spiritual vulnerability, ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’

The ‘debris’ of dirt and dust, coarse flakes of skin cells, domesticated animal hair and bits of unidentifiable protrusions is linked to the repetitive domestic actions undertaken as a daily home cleansing ritual. Dust seems useless and insubstantial, a nuisance, a danger to health and a substance to be thwarted in the arena of the treasured relic. This dusty debris holds a residue and the human DNA and data of her collective family. Barker wants us to question perceptions of ugliness on the outside masking a beautiful interior and vice versa.  The artist has subverted the aesthetic of the cherished and valued beauty of the figurine. The juxtaposition of the gentile and the disgusting engenders our repulsive fascination.

Denied the expected elegance of space to preen and reflect in our admiration, these figurines huddle in a confined and claustrophobic space. A sense of unease and catastrophe are summoned

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