THE HARROWING OF DONEGAL
• BEFORE THE FALL 30 cms X 52.7 cms
• THE FALL 30 cms X 90.2 cms
• AFTER THE FALL 30 cms X 52.7 cms
Photography & digital collage: David Edward Johnston.
BEFORE THE FALL
The animal kingdom contemplates the works of mankind. The Virgin of the Moon observes as irrational belief evolves to superstition.
Two fishermen study the genitalia of the fallen Badger Queen.
Buzzards, the watchers of the sky and harbingers of natural justice, survey the decimation of the land. At the remove of technology, humanity does the same, learning nothing.
The Badger Queen has fallen. Oblivious to import, scavengers and prurient sightseers gather for the spectacle. A lone saxophonist serenades the corpse teats.
Men of the Orange Order (Donegal Chapter) parade the banner of The Occupiers Liability Act 1995. They pass unaware as The Fox approaches the Loyalist Sheep.
Ruin and decay pervade the land. Desperate philosophies, corrupt ideas and unbridled imaginings proliferate, as would a disease.
Offering gifts for the gullible, False Hawk the Shaman emerges from the deep caverns of Shantla. Many laud him as saviour, many as demon, some cannot see him. And so there is a war.
False Hawk the Shaman feigns peace and promises protection. The old ways mark his flesh, he bears the flower of deceit, and the world sees only colour - but his head is dead.
Primal certainties fall one way or another. The Fox allows no taint from the self-righteousness of men by abiding in the purity of the spheres. He forages, he hibernates, he/she becomes hermaphrodite; wily fixation a constant amidst collapse.
Enthralled by the rotting flesh of the carcase of civilisation, gulls circle endlessly, doomed forever without purpose or direction. Nature refuses beauty and disgorges aberrations.
Men, women and children of the Orange Order (Donegal Chapter) march to the tunes of False Hawk the Shaman, bowing to the pressure of their crumbling identity. Their strength is in numbers but they wander lost and confused.
Beauty seeks succour and shelter from reigning evil. The innocent have no immunity from the consequences of defeat and are subsumed by necrosis.
War brings catastrophe and ruin. Fools persist in the rituals of normality. Sterile facsimiles of civilisation and the demise of the machine result.
Leenan finally falls to the ravages of war and time. Pyres haunt the landscape, reducing the living to the shadows of history.
AFTER THE FALL
Anomaly is the norm. What place is this? Where land and sea share atmosphere and the artificial and the natural are in commensalism, is happiness a distant ideal?
A giant stands on the horizon, leading a captive dolphin. God? Trickster? True, or false?
Birds flock from a rusting boat. An ark? A conveyance? A prison?
Surrounded by a chaos of birds and observed by authority, does the fox-headed giant stand involved or aloof? Is he animal or man? Coming, or going?
Do Men of the Orange Order (Donegal Chapter) know they carry the bannerette of the Virgin of the Moon? Have they been deceived, or is this the opening of the heart?
Who constructs a vessel for the stars in the shadow of a compromised geodesic dome? And who cares to watch?
The dome is cracked – but are the internal mechanisms still functioning? Has the living flower superseded technology; and do the burnets have enough to eat? Could this be bastard progeny of the seed of the Shaman?
A holy Buzzard rising from the artefacts of old religion?
The gulls released?
When the Clonca Twins mark the heath (ashes or stone?) is the future secured?
The waxing Moon illuminates the holy Buzzard who presides over the tools of construction. Portent of hope for mankind, or of a new order?
Why do the birds flock to Carraig Brachai? Shelter? Incarceration? To hide? To scheme? To nest?
Ask – has the Fox turned his/her back on the Clonca Twins, or is the work here complete?