Sue Pearl – Cambridge Stone Carver

This is carved out of alabaster from the same quarry in Cornwall where Barbara Hepworth got hers. This a physically heavy piece.The bronze/copper/brass resin casts are much lighter, and were made so that the piece could be hung as a picture on the wall.

I made it a few years ago and I wanted to depict the feeling I have of not belonging anywhere – being an outsider – so that on the surface it looks like a happy scene with music and children jumping around but, in fact, if you look closely, you will see the grieving parents in the right foreground, ‘losing’ their daughter, and the window which is firmly shutting her out.

‘Under The Chuppah’
The ‘chuppah’ or canopy represents a home that can be swiftly dismantled, if necessary. All four sides are wide open to symbolize hospitality towards any passing stranger who will be welcomed into one’s home. The bridegroom is giving the bride a goblet of wine to sip and there is a drawstring bag by his feet containing a glass which the groom is going to tread on. As soon as he has stamped on the bag and the tinkling of smashed glass is heard, all the guests at the wedding ceremony will wish the couple a hearty ‘mazeltov!’ (‘congratulations!’) In the right foreground are the grieving but happy parents who are aware that they have both come to the end of an era. They know that they are not losing their children completely but life is inevitably changing for them. They keenly feel the loss but must recognise that they are entering a new phase of their lives as they are getting older and must withdraw from total responsibility and control of their children who are now married and ‘adult’.

The jolly musician and the children running and jumping around evoke a convivial and warm party atmosphere. However, there is a dark brooding presence overshadowing the joyful scene, namely the overbearing and stifling tree of life. In the background is a brick wall with its shuttered window firmly closed. Strange – you may think – but nothing is as it seems! Although we are all essentially part of a community, whether it is situated in a city or a village, religious or secular, from time to time we all may find ourselves asking the rhetorical question, “Am I part of my community? Do I truly belong? Am I safe? Am I alone?”