Notes from Galveston (final post 2014): Dr Jac Saorsa, Visiting Scholar at the University of Texas

So, in a few days I will be taking my leave of Galveston once again. Of course I am sad to leave the island although I am looking forward to going home and excited about everything I have achieved during my ‘oh too short’ time here. I gave a colloquium and a drawing workshop and, perhaps most importantly, I have pushed on with my writing for Drawing Women’s Cancer.  I have been able to take advantage of the great library at the university, as well as the second hand book store (where I spent far too much in terms of time  – and dollars!!).

I have also been attending lectures and drawing from human cadavers, thanks to the generosity of the directors of the Anatomy Department, and this has given me great insight into this area which feeds very significantly both into my teaching at The Broadway Drawing School in Cardiff and into my work on the socio-historical and philosophical context of the DWC project. The rise of the ‘anatomist surgeon’ in the 18th century is very relevant here.

Wall of Remembrance, Galveston, Texas

Wall of Remembrance, Galveston, Texas

On the island, tucked away in a residential part of the ‘historical district’ there is a beautiful and moving piece of art work consisting of a stone wall with a bronze figure surrounded by a simple yet beautiful garden. The Wall of Remembrance was designed and constructed in 2006 by T.J. Dixon and James Nelson, sculptors specialising in large scale, public sculpture. The inscription in the garden reads:

The loss of someone we love leaves us with a hollow emptiness that can never quite be filled again by anyone else. Part of that emptiness always remains bandaged within us. This bronze figure represents that human grief. It stands humbled with head bowed before the Wall – this Wall that ultimately symbolizes the landscape of our common grief. Over time, stone will be joined by stone in a gesture of collective remembrance to those we have loved and lost.

Visitors are encouraged to leave a stone in the wall for one they have lost. Tomorrow I will leave my own stone – not for any particular person but for all of the people whose bodies I have been drawing in the anatomy lab. I never knew them, but this is an irrelevance in the light of the selfless generosity with which they willed their bodies to medical science.

You can find more information about the wall of remembrance here:

http://www.tjdixonandjnelson.com/portfolio_dtl.php?id=2

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