Identity: of the artist, sand, sea and blood
Scouring my own identity, of family trees and recent relatives, often brings me back to Cornwall.
A county with its own historic language and culture that forms part of the Celtic Congress, its constitutional status is often questioned within England, as the only UK Celtic nation not to self-govern.
As part of my work at the RCA, I have continued to expand my research into the Cornish Cultural Revival and my own personal history. This has included:
- Interviewing the Cornish and Welsh Language Poet and Bard Tim Saunders.
- Archiving historical Cornish Language documents, such as Henry Jenner's Handbook of Cornish Language.
- Archiving and reading the works of Melville Bennetto, the author of the first Cornish Language novel - An Gurun Wosek a Geltya. These works included the aforementioned novel as well as self-published Cornish Language pamphlets and booklets.
- Compiling research and writing into the 2021 Archaeologies project: An lyver kog rag an Lien Kernowek: Fatla dhe drehevel a ikonek lyver (A recipe book for Cornish Literature: How to create a Landmark Novel)
Alongside this work within the RCA, I also got the opportunity to work alongside the Creative Team for the St Just Ordinalia in September 2021, as Writer in Residency.
The Cornish Ordinalia is a collection of three medieval mystery plays, written in Middle Cornish, dating to the early fourteenth century. Known to be potentially the oldest evidence of written stage directions, these plays told three Biblical stories: Origo Mundi (The Origin of the World), Passio Christi (The Passion of Christ) and Resurrexio Domini (The Resurrection of Our Lord).
These plays would have been performed in the medieval plen a gwarry, or playing place. The 2021 St Just production was performed and watched within the ancient circle, one of only a couple surviving in Cornwall.
Outcomes from the St Just Ordinalia residency included a hand-bound, limited edition, collection of poetry, writings, photos and interviews with those involved with the Ordinalia, as well as a spoken word piece, presented in the form of a video, entitled The Dancing Stones, where both English and Modern Cornish is spoken.
Included below is a sample of work produced through this exploration.