Article Enquiry Game

‘An Enquiry on Desire and the City’ by La Sirena

Game and collages by La Sirena featuring in the seventh issue of Surrealerpool’s magazine, ’Patastrophe! (1 May 2023).

‘Proposals for Surrealist Urban Planning’

The ‘Proposals for Surrealist Urban Planning’ game by Doug Campbell involves each player (minimum of two) taking a picture of a local landmark that they think has surrealist potential, and the others situating it in a more fitting environment.

Rules of the game:

Each player selects a building or landmark from their own local environment. This should be a building or structure that seems to them to have surrealist possibilities, perhaps seeming to be haunted or suggesting a role more dramatic than originally intended. For example, this could be a place that the player notices every time they pass, one that provokes irrational feelings, or that they find themselves dreaming about.

Each player then passes a photo or found image of it onto another member of the group.

Each player then takes the image that they have received from another member and situates the structure in a new landscape or context that they feel brings out its true surrealist nature. The structure can be resized or given a new function in any way that seems appropriate. This is most easily done by photo collage, but any available method may be used.

Catherine Sinclair Monument, Edinburgh, Scotland, photograph by Doug Campbell
‘Your Dearest Wish Will Come True’, hand-cut collage with mixed media by Taya King
‘Never Never Land’, Southend-on-Sea, England, photograph by Taya King
‘Quite a Harvest’, hand-cut collage with digital enhancement by Daina Kopp         
‘The Helping Hand’, Chicago, Illinois, photograph by Daina Kopp
‘As Above, So Below’, hand-cut collage by Darren Thomas
Prittlewell Square, Southend-on-Sea, England, photograph by Darren Thomas
‘Castle at the Gates of Time’, photomontage by Doug Campbell
Enquiry La Sirena

Images of La Sirena

This beautiful mermaid mosaic was created by our talented friends, The Kirins, who have kindly allowed us to share this image on our blog in celebration of International Mermaid Day 2023. Of her appearance on the blog, Stephen tell us that:

‘the Mermaid would be delighted and we both agree that meeting up with others in the blog would be very stimulating’.

– Stephen Kirin

The Kirins are a collaborative art duo made up of Lorna and Stephen Kirin, who are based in the picturesque county of Suffolk, England. Their artworks take many forms, including sketches, prints, handbags and fabric, and can be purchased online from their Etsy shop.

Exhibition Film Poem Talks and Presentations

Once Upon A Tomorrow…/Un Tro Yfory… Surrealism in Wales 2023

Just over two weeks now until the Once Upon A Tomorrow…/Un Tro Yfory… Surrealism in Wales exhibition 2023, and Darren and I are very excited to be exhibiting our work along with our comrades from the ‘Welsh tribe’.

As well as showing our collages and assemblages, we will be screening our films, La Femme AutomatiqueLa Femme (Re)trouvée and The Dream Key (eclipse), which will form part of the film programme featuring films by Jean Bonnin, Neil Coombs and Ian Walker. A short introduction to surrealism and film will accompany the screenings, followed by a Q&A with the directors. There will also be poetry readings by Darren and other members of the Welsh tribe.

‘Original artworks made with love’. 

All of the collages that Darren and I are exhibiting can be purchased as digital prints from our Etsy shop, A Labour of Mad Love. We will also be selling original hand made postcards, greetings cards and prints on the day.

A Labour of Mad Love features the collaborative artworks of Taya and Darren. We enjoy experimenting with found objects and images to create visually striking juxtapositions through chance encounters.



  hours  minutes  seconds


Once Upon A Tomorrow…/Un Tro Yfory… Surrealism in Wales 2023

Article Game Poem

‘The Flesh Steals Work That Condemns’ by La Sirena

Poem by La Sirena featuring in Jean Bonnin’s book, A Guidebook to Surrealism: Surrealism by Surrealists (2022).

The Flesh Steals Work That Condemns

The flesh steals work that condemns

The meat steals the work that you throw away

The mountain throws it back at you

We wear the coat of eyes in autumn

The bird told me a tale of autumn leaves

The heart is stolen from the work

The thunderbird flew out of the stone

When the cave was empty

Yet the flesh demands that we swallow the hours of her peacock clock

Meat is a wasteful job

The tower will dance when you see it

Silently the stars shone their shadow talk so that the smile was broken nightly

It has all gone asunder

Work disguises itself as life and holds time hostage

The body steals the work of resistance

I will return to the swaying clouds

‘Embrace the pleasure principle’ declares the flesh

But not before the books write themselves

Whose face is missing now?

Sinful deeds, damning works

Who can know the revolution of the clock more than those who toil in the fetid sweatshops of capitalist hierarchies?

The sleeping clocks pretend to chime

Does a backwards clock run faster?

The world will never know

The wisdom of the cats in medusa masks knows no equal

Who holds the keys to past doors?

Who steals the work he condemns?

When will the wind sing in my ears again?

The body steals work it judges

Their secret is the golden travesty that pierces the palimpsest of flesh

The cats whisper the secrets that were frozen in time

Cats fed on dogs’ meat 

And the wish cast in the placenta birdcage painted the trail to keys I cannot grasp

Embryonic fires burn out the future of time

Cats mummified in wishes and curses

Even their bones sing with the echoes of murder and the murder of echoes in triplicate

All this and a dancing amoeba

Collective poem by Doug Campbell, Taya King, Daina Kopp and Darren Thomas

Article Game Poem

‘How Much Longer?’ Collective Poem by La Sirena

Poem by La Sirena featuring in John Bradley’s book, Blue Will Rise Over Yellow: An International Poetry Anthology for Ukraine (2023).

And Blue Will Rise Over Yellow: International Poetry Anthology for Ukraine, edited by John Bradley, is a must for our troubled world. Each poem here has risen out of need and feeling, acknowledgement and daring, a choice of weapons. Yes, art can work that way: giving shared space to each unique voice, these tropes of humanity bare the realities of war, as well as lived moments of life and death. Here, each poem coaxes us to see into, to feel, to know, as witnesses—moments of action rendered through contemplation—war and history. Tender and bold, we witness the gore of battle from the periphery, through crafted cadences and experimental shapes and sounds woven in this poignant collection. 

–Yusef Komunyakaa, 2021 Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award 

And Blue Will Rise Over Yellow is an incredible book—so much terror in these pages, and yet so much delight of language, imagery, so much music of the unsaid, so much emotion of tears withheld, of screams swallowed, of bullets becoming periods, punctuation marks. It is an incredible book because it shows us that human spirit survives, in the midst of bombardments, facing death, there is a voice that cannot be taken away, a voice that joins the chorus of other voices, across the globe. To these poets, and these translators, my endless gratitude. 

–Ilya Kaminsky, author of Dancing in Odessa and Deaf Republic
Article Game Poem

‘I Am Still Here’ by Surrealists in Wales

Poem by Surrealists in Wales featuring in the seventh issue of John Richardson’s magazine, Once Upon A Tomorrow/Un Tro Yfory (7 January 2023).

Article Game Poem

‘How I Sometimes Feel’ by Surrealists in Wales

Collage and poems by Surrealists in Wales featuring in the sixth issue of Surrealerpool’s magazine, ’Patastrophe! (7 November 2022).

‘How I Sometimes Feel’ (Jean Bonnin, Steve Handsaker, Taya King, John Richardson, Darren Thomas, Tracy Thursfield & John Welson) 25th & 26th July, 2022 (29.5 x 42cm).
Enquiry La Sirena Tattoo

Images of La Sirena

Photograph of Patch’s mermaid tattoo

My beautiful, creative and talented friend, Patch (do check out her artwork here), recently shared a photograph of her mermaid tattoo on her thigh (pictured above) with me. What I found particularly striking about this image, was the uncanny resemblance it bore to Youki Desnos’ mermaid tattoo (pictured below), which is similarly positioned on her thigh.

Youki Desnos showing her mermaid tattoo (Robert Doisneau, Paris c.1950)

This chance encounter between the two mermaid tattoos really resonated with Patch, prompting her response to the image: ‘I love that shot, [Youki’s] confidence and the fact [the men] look impressed rather than letchy’. Indeed, both women can be seen controlling the gaze in their respective photographs and embracing their femininity through the siren figure.

Enquiry La Sirena

Images of La Sirena

Mélusine (one of the pictures from the series Les sept épées hors du fourreau in homage to Apollinaire) painted in 1957 oil on canvas, 150 x 50 cm, Private Collection) Toyen
Film Masks of the City

‘Masks of the City’ Collective Film by La Sirena