28 February 2020
In December 2019 some of those affected by the events in Fishermongers’ Hall spent some time at Kettle’s Yard. Rebecca Lindum Greene, who works at the Institute of Criminology and at Kettle’s Yard has written this piece and created a film in memory of Jack and Saskia.
Kettle’s Yard is to many a sanctuary, and this could not be truer than over the last three months for me. When in moments of exquisite beauty: a ray of light caught, at the right time and space, profound and transformative; the balance of shadow and form, interacting with itself in sculpture; colours seen in a painting at only certain times of day. All of it moments to sooth the soul. Some of these moments in Kettle’s Yard are captured in this video.
The 29th February 2020 is significant for two major reasons in my mind:
Firstly, as a day that comes only once in every four years.
Secondly, it marks three months from the date of the death of three people, Jack, Saskia and Usman.
Working with Learning Together back in 2016, I have had the privilege of witnessing first hand the power of partnerships between prisons and universities. Of safe spaces in which two disparate populations of people, thinking each other to be the antithesis of themselves, come together for a shared learning experience. And realise that for all their differences they have a lot more in common, more than that which divides them.
The events of that day, 29th November 2019, have left an aching gap, webbed with strands of despair, anger, questioning, reasoning, remorse and ultimately, love. From the love & care shown by so many to those immediately affected by events, to the love shared between and amongst those deeply and directly affected.
Both observing and engaging as one of those people, I witnessed a great truth come to light; only in universal love, beyond self-interested, romantic love can we move forward.
Spending time at Kettle’s Yard, both as a place of work and as a visitor. I have had many opportunities to appreciate the house and gallery in its manifold ways. Like so many before, recognising the sanctuary of the house, I wished for friends and colleagues caught-up at the epicentre of Fishmongers’ Hall to experience the space in the aftermath of events. To benefit, for a short time, from the profoundly helpful and restorative nature of this beautifully curated space. It is a place to hold you, and allow you to be, without external interference.
A small gathering was arranged at Kettle’s Yard on 12th December 2019. Of those able to be present, some, supported by this safe space exchanged their personal perspectives and others their creative responses to the tragedy. I shared the song, heard here in this video, where I describe in spoken words, better than I can in writing, the journey that led to the making of it…
The images captured in the video are my perspective on the hours before the terrorist attack and the weeks that followed as part of my own reckoning and rehabilitation. The hours spent in deep contemplation at Kettle’s Yard; a pilgrimage to Fishmongers’ Hall and the William Blake exhibition at Tate Britain; a week later I then retreated to the country side to spend time walking near Anglesey Abbey.
My return walk from Anglesey Abbey along the river was astonishing, as I headed towards the low winter sun with light dancing like liquid gold on the water’s wind-rippled surface. Tears welled. I stopped to tell my story and sing at the pond, as wolves howl to the moon. Birds came and circled around, gliding across the water to greet me, as though they understood and sought to console me.
At that moment I felt utterly restored, and yet devastated by the simplicity of it. That Old Wow.
– Rebecca Lindum Greene is Honorary Artist in Residence at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, Founder of DrawingConnections at the edges, a Creative Learning programme @DrawConnect and a Visitor Assistant and Flower arranger at Kettle’s Yard