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Message from the Skies: Mara Menzies responds to the climate emergency

  26 Jan '22   |  Posted by: Birlinn

We were thrilled to hear that our author Mara Menzies, whose recently published Blood and Gold has been met by much acclaim, was commissioned to write a piece responding to the climate emergency as part of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations. Alongside other Edinburgh writers Anna Fleming and Andrés N. Ordorica, their pieces were transformed into an audiovisual spectacle at Trinity Apse, just off the Royal Mile. It is accompanied by a powerful soundscape from Calum Paterson, and features vibrant, animated projection from designer Hazel Dunn and the digital studio NOVAK. The result is not only a beautiful installation, but a hugely effective call to action against the background of the recent COP26 climate summit.

For eternity I have watched my waves rise and fall with the waning of the moon. Over centuries, I have arched my back, contorted my entire being, twisting, straining, wailing to the skies as the pangs of childbirth overcome me, and I give and give as I have always given. The sea grass dances as krill slip through my fingers and the whales sing their song of surrender.

Extract from Mara Menzies’ piece Ocean Mother

While the exhibition has now closed, more information and images can be found on Edinburgh Hogmanay’s website here, including the full text of each of these writers’ pieces. Head over to our Instagram to see more clips from this installation.

Blood and Gold is the moving first novel by performance artist Mara Menzies, who employs Scottish and Kenyan storytelling traditions to explore racism in Scotland, the legacy of colonialism, and asks us to examine our own identities. The book is lavishly produced with illustrations throughout by pen-and-ink artist Eri Griffin.

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