Sunday, December 2, 2007

Parafield Gardens Mosaic Totem Project

Wall Tales

'Wall Tales'
Presented by The Clay Collective for the 2007 Oz Asia Festival at the Adelaide Festival Centre

The Clay Collective artists each selected a story that expressed a direct or indirect experience of cultural exchange between Australia and Asia. They are drawn from a wide range of sources, from travel experiences and social issues to traditional design and ancient poetry.

The Clay Collective is a group of South Australian based ceramic artists who regularly exhibit together both locally and interstate.

Clay Collective Artists: Alison Arnold, Rose Maguire, Angela Walford, Charmain Hearder, Tracey Rosser, Stephanie James- Manttan, Jane Burbidge, Jane Robertson, John Colman, Sam Jeffries, Marie Littlewood, Mercedes Mangnall, Merrilyn Stock, Erin Lykos
2007 Handmade relief tiles, with screen printed underglaze. Dimensions: 540mm x 400mm

This panel depicts a story told by many cultures including Hindu and Buddhist, in the19th Century it was recorded as a poem by John Godfrey Saxe. A group of blind men are asked to describe an elephant by touch alone. Each touches a different part but only one part, so the first identifies its sturdy side as a wall, the second describes its sharp tusk as a spear, the third concludes the wriggling trunk must be a snake, the fourth names its leg a tree, the fifth declares its ear must be a fan the sixth identifies its swinging tale as a rope, each man reveals the truth according to his experience but none of them manages to identify the whole. The idea that truth is relative to each individual and is dependant upon the information available is universal. It is particularly pertinent to our time as opinions about the world we live in and the people we share it with are largely formed from one-dimensional Media sources.

So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

John Godfrey Saxe