Alarch began life as a site responsive performance at the largest UK sculpture exhibition, Out of Nature, in 2017. I worked with dancers from Hereford College of Performing Arts, creating a processional performance from the willows to the lake. Working with paper costume and paper bodies, and interacting with Helen Malia's wicker boats, the performance culminated in the lake, where I laid the bodies to rest, accompanied by the reeds, rain, birds and breeze.
The performance was then adapted to a theatre space for a dance festival and later became a solo piece which I have toured in UK, Russia, Siberia and Japan.
It is non verbal and changes every time, in response to the country, environment and audience that I interact with. My song takes on nuances from the land.
The piece emanated from my experience of child loss and is inspired by a mesolithic grave in Denmark, where a newborn baby was placed upon a swan's wing, next to his mother. I have also explored Celtic, Japanese and Siberian myths of swans and researched Japanese rituals (Mizuko Kuyo) celebrating the lives of babies and the use of paper in ritual.
Responses to Alarch have been profound, giving many people around the world the opportunity to grieve the loss of their own children. It is also an opportunity to experience clown in a different way: of reflecting the beauty and poetry of loss, and finding joy amidst the pain.