More than words


Art Group Wanstead member Stella de la Sauce presents her leaf poetry artwork, which makes a statement about human language and existence

The poet RM Rilke said: “If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees.“ One could argue Homo sapiens have risen. Humankind’s ingenuity has allowed us to shelter ourselves from the inhospitable sides of nature, but the unkind and destructive way in which we dominate the natural world has come at a cost. We have removed ourselves so far that we have started to regard ourselves as distinct from that of which we are ultimately a part. While we may appear to stand tall, without roots to ground us, will we eventually fall? 

I have always been fascinated by this dichotomy of the human existence and when, after a first career as a dancer, I embarked on a new creative career as a visual artist, it was this fascination that inspired my work. Nature’s resilience, the implications of our lost connection to nature and what it would take to reconnect are reoccurring themes in my art.

We don’t get wet in the rain.
We have umbrellas.
We don’t get mud between our toes.
We have shoes.
We don’t feel the storm.
We have houses.
We don’t smell the grass.
We have a job.
We don’t hug trees.
We have a life.
We have…
Lost, so much.

When I wrote this poem and typed it directly onto leaves, it was to create a symbol of the missing dialogue between us and nature, wondering if the very language that humans tend to regard as the most sophisticated form of communication around, may, in fact, be a barrier when it comes to connecting with the natural world. Since nature doesn’t speak to us on our terms, do we fail to even make an effort to understand?

Having recently joined Art Group Wanstead, tirelessly run by the fabulous Donna Mizzi, I have had the wonderful opportunity to show, amongst other works, the piece Leaf Poetry: Lost at the Wanstead Festival and at The Stow Brothers. I have been able to experience first-hand how supportive Wanstead and the Wanstead Village Directory are of their local arts community. The openness with which locals have engaged with my work has been a huge pleasure. I am looking forward to many more future conversations about art and nature with the lovely people of Wanstead.

To view more of Stella’s work, visit sdls.gallery. For more information on Art Group Wanstead, visit wnstd.com/art

Author: Editor