Game Poem

Surrealists in Wales

Taya and I recently met up with several of the surrealists of Wales, including Steve Handsaker, John Richardson, Tracy Thursfield and John Welson, in the beautiful mountainous setting of Clyro, on my birthday. John Richardson kindly hosted the meeting at his house.

JW, TT, TK, DT, JR & SH.

We created a collective collage and some collective poems featuring in the sixth issue of Surrealerpool’s magazine, ’Patastrophe! (7 November 2022). Although, Jean Bonnin was not able to attend, he was certainly there in spirit and provided materials and ideas, which we incorporated into the collective work.

‘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).

I Am Still Here

Fridge Eyes and bakerlite eyebrows
Underwater music filters through the night
There where we murdered the mirrors
Vulnerable lips choking on mirrors
Invoking the mystery of days to come
Announcing the moon balloon of memory
The lost child embraced chance encounters
Coins tossed, dice shaken, and light bulbs smashed
Light filtered in the shrine of a stolen memory singing
I am a man, I am a woman, I am a fighter – I am still here

Over A Number

Over a number
Blue stolen shadows creep
Light refracts on the breaking of dawn
The asparagus train pulls into the station
We play games with their faces nightly
The dragon dresses in the latest fashion
And ice falls from the eyes of the woman in black
As the dice swallow the odd numbers only
The egg is buried in the graveyard, never to be seen again
As golden tears fall on the luminous ground

Jean Bonnin
Taya King
John Richardson
Darren Thomas

26 July 2022

I also received a number of birthday gifts. Here are two that Tracy Thursfield and John Welson created:

Film Game Masks of the City

Exquisite Corpse

Exquisite Corpse, created by: Janice Hathaway, Taya King, Irene Plazewska and Darren Thomas (London, 2022).

This exquisite corpse was created in a café, in London, during the making of the filmMasks of the City’.

Exhibition Game

Exquisite Corpse for the International Exhibition of Surrealism Part One: Cairo 2022 Poetic and Critical Anthology

The below exquisite corpse features on the front cover of the International Exhibition of Surrealism Part One: Cairo 2022 Poetic and Critical Anthology, which was collectively produced by the members of La Sirena Surrealist Group.

(Digital Collage by La Sirena Surrealist Group)

Taya: The international spirit of the Surrealist Exhibition in Cairo is reflected here in the hybrid union of the creature’s three culturally distinct heads, including (from left to right) that of a Moai statue from Easter Island, an ancient Greek sculpture from the Classical period and an ancient Egyptian mummy from the host country, all of which were sourced from Harter’s Picture Archive for Collage and Illustration.

(Hand cut collage by Taya King)

Darren: I sourced the torso from an old favourite of mine – Heck’s Pictorial Archive of Nature and Science, from the section on anatomical bodies. I was struck by the positioning of the arms, which I read as a welcoming gesture and immediately brought back fond memories of how I felt when I was in Cairo amongst my surrealist comrades, who embraced La Sirena with open arms. I cannot think of a more fitting gesture to grace the cover of the anthology for the International Exhibition of Surrealism, with its emphasis on internationalism, open to all. 

(Hand cut collage by Darren Thomas)

The butterfly wings were taken from another of my favourite books: The Observer Book of Butterflies. I am constantly drawn to butterflies because of their association with flight, freedom, transformation, rebirth and hope, and, again, these associations were wedded to my experiences of flying to Cairo and being part of the exhibition, which was truly transformative.

Daina: I’ve always been fond of bestiaries and fantastical creatures like those imagined by Hieronymus Bosch (1450 – 1516), Peter Bruegel the Elder (1525? – 1569) and J J Grandville (1803 – 1847). I love medieval bestiaries and pull a lot of inspiration for my work from such books.

(Digital collage by Daina Kopp)

The hips came from an image of, Pan, the Greek god of Shepards and the mountain wilds. The tail came from an engraving, DRAGON, 1640. Draco Aethiopicus. Woodcut from Ulisse Aldrovandi’s ‘Serpentum et Draconium Historiae’, Bologna, Italy, 1640.

I can’t recall where the image of Pan came from exactly. It might have been from the book Treasury of Fantastical and Mythological Creatures: 1087 Renderings from Historical Sources by Richard Huber.

Doug: For the legs, I used a reversed stock image of a knight in full body armour.

(Digital collage by Doug Campbell)

This turns out to be a 16th century wood engraving by Vecellio Cesare, a cousin of Titian! The metal ‘scales’ on the legs made me think of birds and reptiles, so I found textbook engravings of chicken feet and added them on.

Exhibition Game

‘Dreams of Cairo: Icarus Rising’

(Hand cut collage and mixed media by Darren Thomas)
Game Mad Love

‘An Independent Woman’

(Hand cut collage and mixed media by Darren Thomas)
Game Mad Love

‘Collage Postcard Game (2)’


‘Scrap Collage Challenge (2)’

Hand cut collage by Taya King

‘Mistaken Identity’

Hand cut collage by Darren Thomas

‘Rise & Fall of Venice’


‘Sunflower Queen’

Hand cut collage by Taya King