Paintings by Carolyn Hillyer
What is the story of our forgotten people? It is a story of return. It is a story of hearthstones and home; of amber from oceans and copper from earth; of men who soar with buzzards and women who weave heron feathers into their hair. It is also the story of ourselves; in a landscape where time spirals rather than runs ahead of us in rigid lines, we look to our forgotten people to remember something about our own lives. Remembering our people, those who are connected to us by blood or clan or land or any other bond that serves to entwine hearts and souls, is part of rooting ourselves in our landscape and shaping the road along which we choose to travel. We learn from our ancestors in order to understand the ancestors we might become.
This cycle of paintings was completed in 1997, two years after Carolyn arrived to live within the lap of Dartmoor’s neolithic past. It represents the story of the ancestral women of this landscape – four women of blood and bone, and four spirit forms that stand or journey beside them. But it is also a story of women’s lives – eight stages of womanhood, from young girl through motherhood and menopause into the crone years. The original paintings are 6 ft/180 cms high x 3 ft/90 cms, acrylic on board plus woven textiles, leather, bone. The prints are on A4 (31×21 cms) heavy art card. The album SONGS OF THE FORGOTTEN PEOPLE accompanies the ancestral cycle and the album OLD SILVERHEAD contains the songs that refer to the eight aspects of womanhood.
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