Stories at the Park: a personal review

The authors and storytellers: Caledonia Skytower, Trolley Trollop and R. Crap Mariner
The authors and storytellers: Caledonia Skytower, Trolley Trollop and R. Crap Mariner

On Sunday, October 16th, Holly Kai Park hosted the third in our join series Stories at the Park, run in partnership with Seanchai Library. It features stories and poems written about the art on display at each Art in the Park exhibitions read live in voice by the authors or members of Seanchai library.

Attending these sessions has always been fascinating for me. Writing is a passion, but the concept of encapsulating a story in just 100 words is something I find impossible to achieve. So, witnessing others do so and produce pieces with such incredible depth, and emotive power and range, always astonishes me.

Folk gather to hear the October Stories at the Park, October 16th, 2016
Folk gather to hear the October Stories at the Park, October 16th, 2016

Stories at the Park also offers a unique way in which the art on display at Holly Kai Park can be interpreted – through the words and eyes of others. For me, the stories and poems presented at each session never fail to open a whole new world of perception and narrative around a piece of art. And when there are two or three pieces written on the same piece, then the floodgates of thought and viewpoint are thrown wide.

The most recent event was no exception. In all, 32 stories and poems presented by the combined talents of three friends I admire very much: Caledonia Skytower, Trolley Trollop and R. Crap Mariner. The range of style and depth of interpretation of various pieces currently on display at the park was again captivating; laughter, tears and quite contemplation flowed through the session as stories were read and poems recited.  

Gates of Melancholy; Inara Pey, June 2016, on FlickrWyeth Remembered (Gates of Melancholy) beautifully brought to life in prose by Trolley Trollop

This event was also very personal for me, given I’m exhibiting at the park; I confess to being both curious and nervous about how (and even if) any of my photos might be expressed by others. But what I heard left me amazed and stunned by the richness of interpretation; I found myself smiling, nodding, laughing in delight, and  – in the case of one piece in particular, taking a tissue to watery eyes.

Thank you, Trolley, for your wonderful interpretation of  Wyeth Remembered, it beautifully reflects the narrative I had for the piece. so much so, that I now wish I’d given it the name which first came into my head: Absence. Thank you Cale and Crap for also bringing my images to life so evocatively; you have me by turns smiling, laughing and looking afresh at my own images as I read and listen to your words.

It’s fair to say that Stories at the Park started as something of an experiment cooked up by Caledonia and myself. Having now experienced the event from both sides of the isle, so to speak – audience member and exhibiting photographer – I’m more than ever convinced that the series offers a very unique way to appreciate art in-world, and also to gain familiarity with in-world storytelling. My thanks to all the artists participating in Art at the Park and to Seanchai Library for making these events possible.

Our next session, featuring a new line-up of artists, stories and verse will be on Sunday, November 20th, 2016 at 15:00 SLT; I hope you’ll mark it in your diaries and join us. In the meantime, please do hop over to the Holy Kai Blog, where you can read all of the stories and poems from October’s event, and please be sure to visit the exhibition in-world before it closes on Sunday, October 23rd, 2016.

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4 thoughts on “Stories at the Park: a personal review

  1. Oh Inara, this post made me tear up. We can’t actually say that our experiment was particularly original, as it taps into several ideas that people have tried all over this grid and others. But I think it is safe to say that it has been a success, and I have heard nothing but appreciation and wonder (not unlike yours) from the artists whom we have scribbled and shared our responses to. More stories! On to the next round!


  2. Hi Inara. Trolley’s ‘Gates of melancholy’ awoke in me an urge to write a reply, an answer
    (in a kind of friendly competetion with her). Here it is, it is called ‘On behalf of Christine’ (to fully understand you need at least to google Chadds Ford)

    Allow me to answer your heart cry, on behalf of Christine. She wishes you well.

    “Who are you”, you shout.

    My world is timeless, stretching into fantasy. Follow my river upstream and you’ll wander in blood-soaked fields of long passed battles, follow it downstream and you’ll find the Baranduin, frontier of the Shire. When Christine crawled out of that gate, in the here and now, I felt her pain, her cramping limbs, her longing to be really free.

    I am the land shrouded in mist. I opened up and took her in. She is with me now, in peace.


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