This ongoing project starts by memorialising the trees which were burned during the wildfires on Paros in 2022 (and to the animals and insects that perished alongside them). It is also about my personal rage at the, predominantly, men in power who all over this beautiful planet, are “fiddling whilst Rome burns”.
In April 2023 I visited Paros, a favourite island for many, many years, fortunate to be staying at the wonderful Cycladic Arts residency for a month. I had been musing on a project about the dichotomy of tourism- loving the Paraian lifestyle and culture whilst eradicating it, demanding an island experience but one which was convenient.
A turning point came when the founder of the Cycladic Arts took us on a well-known inland hike from Lefkes to Prodromos, walking through the spring blooms, scents and vistas of the Byzantine Path. It was full of life, stunning and satiating.
Then, the gut punch of burned black trees- the contorted charcoal of juniper, pine, olive. This was it- this was the dilemma entangled and embodied. I made a few photos, collected some incinerated twigs and bark and decided I would return to make more work.
I had some black muslin that I had brought with me, to use as a background, but instinctively this cloth became a shroud/σάβανο, perhaps the Easter period on the island influencing this atheist. Back amongst the trees I draped the muslin carefully over the dead branches- not just an aesthetic intervention, but also my way of sharing grief, marking the loss. A passer-by observed me making photos and told me “That’s beautiful”. Perhaps grief has a grace?