Artist 1: Marion Roberts
Artist 2: Yvonne Deegan
Artist 3: Jennifer Fenner
Artist 4: Katie Whitfield
Different cultures will express their hospitality in different ways. Our Western society and hospitality to one another has its origins in Greek culture, represented by the god Zeus Xenios, patron of hospitality and guests, also the deity of travel, patriarch of the Olympian family and Greek religious beliefs. As illustrated in my work it was all important for every citizen, and a moral duty to appraise the Gods to show hospitality to any visitor or stranger to offer shelter, food and company. Failing this they could fall from grace or even death.
A total stranger ought to be welcomed, whether or not they were Gods such as Athena, or not, as the case would be when at times they were disguised as mere mortals. In my work I looked at how this concept of hospitality has moved on by using a modern image of a woman in the 1950s. At this time, after the austerity of the Second World War commercialism spurred on glamorous images of colourful household with the latest technology. In this the position of the woman in the household took on the central role of the hostess. Therefore I represented her as divine with wings and used lace in the work indicate domesticity.
In this work, which is in the form of a blanket, I mainly used screen printing and hand painting which was later de-constructed and made whole again by using bonding stitch and laser cutting. I feel that the ancient concept of offering hospitality has become part of our collective mind and is evident in all societies and cultures throughout the world.
Yvonne stitched and quilted an image of a broken wing which protects a stranger, adding a poem which indicated the warmth of hearth and home.
Jennifer added to the blanket by embroidering the figure Hestia, goddess of the hearth (food, drink and hospitality).
Hestia is not represented in traditional iconography but has been given a modern dress and hair-style to mirror the silhouettes from “It is the privilege to entertain and look after the guests”
Katie worked with the laser-cut figures to give more emphasis and depth to the hostess.
The experience of working together on the same theme proved to be a challenge but on the whole was positive. I was able to use some different techniques and unbeknown to each other we thought along the same line concerning the concept of hospitality.
Artist: Marion Roberts