Thursday, 29 November 2018

The crumbling of the breast plate

As part of Great and Tiny War, Bobby Baker worked with a variety of women attending local women's groups. She ran a number of bread sculpture workshops in which the women were asked to make their own armoury; items that they would use to protect them, to show their strength or to provide them with comfort. During these workshops Bobby showed them some of her own bread sculptures that she made for previous performances. These included a breast plate and some antlers for protection. These items have been displayed in the kitchen at 133 Sidney Grove for visitors to Great and Tiny War to look at and wear. 

A couple of weeks ago, when I was in the kitchen hosting a group of guests, I was startled by a sudden thud. The bread breast plate had fallen off the cupboard door where it was hanging, and as it hit the floor, had broken in half. The effect of this was significant and was gradually revealed over the final two weeks of the exhibition. Not only was the bread plate the dough the bound the various different elements of the exhibition together, it was the shield that protected the exhibition and guarded against bad fortune. 

The crumbling of the breast plate signified the fragility of many of the elements within the exhibition. It was ironic that this happened in the final stages of the exhibition - in the period of time that the exhibition had been extended. It was as if certain elements had reached the end of their natural life. Technical issues became more commonplace, visitors (and hosts) encountered more problems getting to the exhibition on time due to the unreliability of public transport, and biscuit supplies dwindled (although this was quickly remedied!).

They say all good things must come to an end, and maybe the crumbling of the breast plate is evidence of the truth within this expression.

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