ArtWay

It is the lack of self-denial and self-discipline that explains the mediocrity of so much devotional art. Thomas Merton

Come... Help me Lament

Come... Help Me Lament

“For some time I have been concerned that many of us do not know how to lament—or at least we do not often allow ourselves to do so.” David Squires

Lament was created in memory of those killed in the 2002 Bali bombing and was presented on the one year anniversary date in Sydney, Australia as a memorial for those who lost their lives and for those who remain to grieve.

Soprano, male choir, piano, string orchestra; multimedia work with projected visual art by Erica Grimm; premiered Fall 2003

Music: David Squires
Mezzo-soprano solo: Sarah Fryer
Technical support: Gareth Griffiths
Artwork: Erica L. Grimm

Tragedy and death have always been part of human experience. There is a universal longing to make sense out of our suffering, but often our response turns to anger, revenge or denial. Many people, however, understand lament as part of a healthy response to suffering.

The images and music play off of one another to speak to the human experience of grieving. According to Grimm, the visuals are intended to express the range of emotions felt during the lamentation process by using a great deal of black and blank spaces in a similar way that musicians use silence. “I have, in the past, experienced grief like a wave, at times raw, and overpowering, receding to a gentler rhythm, before escalating once again,” says Grimm. “The piece tries to be honest about the grieving experience. Hope is very real and is evident, but the refrain, ‘how long?’ bears witness to the recurring disasters, man-made and otherwise, that continue to beset our world. We wait, in hope, of the healing which has been promised.”

Inspired by the events of 9/11, the musical composition, “Come…Help Me Lament,” was written by David Squires, PhD, Associate Professor of Music at TWU, and was performed by the TWU Orchestra.

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David Squires is a long-time university professor, mentor, and composer. He has served as a worship pastor for several churches across Canada. With an extensive catalogue of chamber, choral, and orchestral music, he is equally at home writing for amateurs and students as for professional musicians. “When I create something, I feel I am most like the Creator. I am coming into contact in a fully embodied way with the one who made all things, and who in turn made me to make things. This is a mystery—one which nourishes.” He and his wife Colette have four children and seven grandchildren. David can be contacted at david.squires@twu.ca. 

Erica L. Grimm works with themes of embodiment and liminality. She has had over 25 solo exhibitions and is in numerous private and public collections, including the Vatican Art Collection, Canada Council Art Bank and the Richmond Art Gallery. Erica’s current visual work uses encaustic, steel, medical imagery (PET scans, Angioplasty animated gifs., EKG readings), video and sound, exploring how the body is mapped and how the meaning of body travels over various materials and culturally specific signifiers of meaning. Her PhD dissertation The Aesthetics of Attentiveness: A Philosophy for Artists and Educators is a philosophical aesthetics written from the vantage point of the maker of art. It proposes that in the active practice of making work artists come to knowing by passing through a liminal passage of unknowing. Art-making can therefore be thought of as a kind of apophatic epistemology, a form of understanding born out of mindful attention. www.ericagrimm.com


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