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Thursday, 2 January 2014


Wendy Stefansson. Palimpsest. Dust cloths, dust, thread, string, wood. 2007

In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a tradition of making prayer flags. Small rectangles of brightly-coloured cotton are block-printed with prayers, then strung in a windy location, often high in the Himalayas.  The wind, it is believed, blows the prayers to the universe.

In medieval Christianity, books were written and illustrated by the hands of monks. When new parchment was unavailable, previously written pages were erased, often imperfectly, and new words were written over the old. The manuscript thus created was called a palimpsest.

Both of these concepts inform these, my prayer flags. Made from used dust cloths, the dust of my body forms the text. My dust is the physical evidence of my daily living and my daily dying – the shedding and regeneration of cells that began before I was born and will go on beyond my death.  In this exists my prayer -- my daily participation in the cycles of life, in the universe, in godness.

These -- my dust marks, my prayers -- I have loosely outlined with stitches in dust-coloured threads.  These tracings will remain, will retain the memory of my dust after it is unwritten and re-written by the elements.

May 2007

Wendy Stefansson. Palimpsest.

Wendy Stefansson. Palimpsest.

Wendy Stefansson. Palimpsest.

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