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The Burning of 'Lifting the Curse'

Tim Shaw




‘We curse the Royal Academy and all its members.’
–Gilbert and George, The Times, 12th February 2021


These words inspired the creation of 'Lifting the Curse' whose burnt remains have been resurrected into something new.

The large votive figure was constructed with tree branches tied to a metal frame–its insides filled with material to absorb negative energy. A burnt wooden heart, bound in copper, hung from its chest.

Between the old and new moon, a focusing was performed upon the grubby working to give it potency. Then, for three months, it stood in the Royal Academy fulfilling its task.

Springtime came and with it, the great rush of wildflowers. Much further east, Russia stormed Ukraine and began its slaughter and devastation of a free people. As I write, today’s media footage shows how Ukrainians dig lines of graves for those who have not yet been killed.

On 9th April, Lifting the Curse was burnt in a field where two ley lines cross. A peller man incantated, while showering the form, first with water, then with fire, and a song was sung for all those who flee tyranny and war.

Ashes were gathered; and summoned by an ‘Oss, Tease and drums, a procession filed down to the river carrying the cinders by torch light. A smoky haze mingled with the damp headiness of bluebells and wild garlic. The ashes were ceremoniously thrown to the air, water, and earth.

We do not know how the metaphysical affects the physical world–but even Putin recognises the power of the unseen. It is why Mikhail Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita must never be mentioned in his presence.

Words hold power.