Portfolio > Australia Council for the Arts

For Whom the Bell Tolls
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Mahogany (salvaged piano leg), wire, hardware, acrylic and milk paints.
60 x 15 x 15 cm
2016

This work of automata, constructed from a salvaged Mahogany piano leg, was made during my residency at the the 2016 ITE Windgate Fellowship in Philadelphia (Center for Art in Wood/ University of the Arts).

Living in America, regular news of gun related deaths takes an emotional toll on society regardless of one's relationship to the victims or political leanings. This is particularly true when children are involved. My awareness of the unpredictable possibility of gun violence feels like an oppressive cloud that I try to forget, but each news item adds to the emotional burden. I was compelled to make works that addressed the emotional side of living with gun violence and loss without being didactic or political.

For Whom the Bell Tolls is a memorial to the hundreds of children who have died in the last decade by gunshot in America. With each new death, one can pull the trigger of the barrel to flap the angel wings of the floating heart. This engagement is a small act of tribute in the face of great loss. The title, For Whom the Bell Tolls, is taken from the words written by John Donne in 1624 that recount the loss mankind experiences at any person's death, and speaks for my experience as well:

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."