Gail Ritchie Contemporary Art
August - Air and ambiguity
I am still thinking about airborn memorials and ambiguity. This weekend, I spent time walking along the cliffs from Ballyhornan to Ardglass, following the narrow rocky trail along the coastline. Somewhere, far out on the rocks, I spotted this broken obelisk, the remains of an unknown memorial. I wondered what it marked and who it was for. Behind me was the former Bishop's Court RAF radar station built in 1943 and ahead of me was the Irish Sea and the notorious narrows of Strangford Lough where many boats had sank or foundered on the rocks. There was no signage or indication of what the obelisk commemorated and further down the rock face, I could see the rest of the column which was also without markings. Was it for pilots or fishermen, or for someone who had drowned? Did knowing the details add to or detract from its melancholy ? For me, not knowing allows thoughts and memories to remain open, making the memorial part of my present and not someone else's past. I remember what I do not know, and think of those I never met. Those in peril on the sea, as the song goes. In the studio I veil my model airship, put it in the garb of mourning and wonder if memorials grieve.
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