"With this burning hand, now afire”

This work is inspired by the ephemeral nature of burning art. We build so many things to last forever, why not make things to let them go? The symbolism of fire is a passion of mine that embodies many of my life's memorable and joyous moments and realisations. I am exploring this transformation process.

Our hands are the ultimate tools, we use them in so many different ways, literally changing our worlds with them. The right hand is usually associated with rectitude and the left with deviousness. Hand gestures carry specific meanings: for example, the thumbs-up sign originally stood for virility. Hindus and Buddhists use a system of more than five hundred gestures, or mudras, in ritual and dance. With this poem I wanted to bring attention to the power of touch, the fleeting transience of desire and the ability one has to demonstrate love to another with the smallest gesture.

The work is made with off-cut waste of timber and thatching grass and is about 2.5m tall. The particular gesture is meant to emphasise the unfurling of the fingers with a reaching upward.

With this burning hand, now afire
I hold it towards you.
I reach through the sky and illuminate the shadows of our night.
Brave like fire, fierce in grip, I burn the darkness.
Feel my warmth, feel the heat.
With this burning hand, now afire
I hold it towards you, to caress your being,
be aware of its unfurling potential.
For in just a moment,
This burning hand will be but the smoke of my yearning
and the ash of my love.
With this burning hand, now afire
I hold it towards you.

Written by Simon Max Bannister
Inspired by John Keats, "This living hand, now warm and capable"

More fire sculpture: Afrikaburn 2012 : Solace