As well as showing our collages and assemblages, we will be screening our films, La Femme Automatique, La 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.
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.
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Once Upon A Tomorrow…/Un Tro Yfory… Surrealism in Wales 2023
And Blue Will Rise OverYellow: 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 OverYellow 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
Surrealerpool, the Liverpool Surrealist group, organised a public happening ‘The Lost Plot’ on Friday 9th February 2023. This was a vibrant and thoroughly ‘pataphysical manifestation of the Surrealerpool group. We hope there will be many more.
Doug Campbell attended as a representative of La Sirena, and is entirely responsible for the ‘in the moment’ quality of the photos below. We hope they give a flavour of the event.
Collective performance of the Surrealerpool manifesto
Further inspirational readings
The audience is rapt!
Climactic ritual sacrifice of the Lost Plot piñata
The website of the Surrealerpool group, is linked below. Their numerous publications are uniformly excellent and warmly recommended.
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.
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.
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:
Taya King: La Sirena Surrealist Group participated in the International Exhibition of Surrealism by submitting collective poetry texts, artworks, and films, which was followed by their physical representation as a group at the exhibition in Cairo (February 2022). This historically significant event also marked the first time that all members of La Sirena have met each other since the group’s virtual inception the previous year, during lockdown. I was particularly proud to present my two films, La Femme Automatiqueand La Femme (Re)trouvée (2021), at the exhibition.
Darren Thomas: Being part of this great exhibition, in Cairo has been a truly special experience. As well as showing several of my collages and photographs, I screened the third film in my trilogy The Dream Key (eclipse) and performed my poetry. But my abiding memory is the collective and international nature of this meeting of hearts and minds from the surrealist community, offering a wonderful opportunity to meet old and new comrades alike from so many countries and different cultures and take part in a collective dialogue and group activities – the poetry made by all!
Doug Campbell: I had been excited to see the rebirth of Egyptian surrealism over the last few years, and was thrilled to be invited to Cairo to participate in the exhibition. Despite the many challenges faced by the organisers, the event more than lived up to expectations. A meeting of minds in a magical space, and as such, perhaps necessarily challenging. For me, those challenges were a reason to get out there and get involved, not a reason to stay at home. I’m so glad I did, and I’m sure the contacts made and the energy generated will lead to many further adventures.
Daina Kopp: I was over the moon to come to Cairo for such a monumental surrealist exhibit. As a polyglot, I was in my element to be surrounded by artists and creators of all kinds from 28 countries and 4 continents who flew in. It was an honor and a pleasure to submit artwork and perform with my surrealist dream-inspired band, Hypnagogic Telegram. It was enchanting to meet with my fellow sirens from La Sirena and I look forward to further collaborations with the artists who contributed to this amazing historical exhibit. An ancient country hosting the next chapter of surrealism. Bravo!