A Different Sort of Sacrifice

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A Different Sort of Sacrifice
mixed media assemblage
260 X 192 X 40 mm
by Dale Copeland, 1995

A Different Sort of Sacrifice was one of the works which seem to make themselves. I had been rebinding a memorial book for a boys' high school, and the old canvas liner which I had to remove from the spine was marked with a blue and white cruciform stain from the black pages. It had been a moving, even dismal, job - each page of the huge book held photos of all these idealistic young men, off to the war in their new uniforms. They had all died for their idealism or for their great adventure.

So the piece of stained canvas was waiting for a use, and heavy with its own meanings. The small figure of a pregnant woman had been given to me by a friend, and I photographed it with wedding ring and pocket watch face for a halo. It sat well on the cruciform stains, and I loved the way the thick glass pieces reflected and disturbed the image. I needed spacers to hold the glass slabs apart and to support them tightly in the wooden box - old lead printing type was just right, with hints of meaning, the suggestion of a solution to the puzzle. The meaning of life, or some meaning to death.

And it began to carry the meaning of that other sort of sacrifice, the woman's. Not as glorious or as public, but as full of pain perhaps.

At the bottom, fishes. Again the reference to the Christian symbol, but also the cycle oflife, dissolution of structure, molecular redistribution. One answer can be that the question wasn't worth asking. On the personal level there is no meaning - the race continues, life goes on, and the sacrifices and personal pains disappear in history.


Dale's studio can be found on Surf Highway, Taranaki, New Zealand

More of her work can be seen on the Virtual TART site at http://virtual.tart.co.nz/Dale

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Image © Dale Copeland