It could be said that the shell appeals to some kind of primal emotion. Human cultures over time have woven much myth and meaning around it.
The shell has come to symbolize different things to different cultures. It has been a symbol of everything from the female principle and fertility to resurrection.
Eastern mythology claims that if you hold a conch shell to the ear you will be able to hear the voice of Buddha.
The shell for the ancients was the symbol of the human being in its entirety, body and soul. It was thought that the humble snail shell was a symbol of reincarnation as thousands were found inside sealed tombs of the dead.
To me, ideas regarding the shell which resonate most are those of the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard. In his book The Poetics of Space, he refers to the empty shell as an inducement to a kind of primal daydreaming. It invites us to take refuge in its intimate space out of a desire to re-inhabit our original shelter, the house that is inscribed on, the house in which we were born.
Here we first found comfort in solitude in its secret places. Here we could daydream and revel in the world of imagination where past, present and future converge and where anything is possible. This house shapes the way in which we perceive and experience all consequent houses. Through memory it invites us to re-visit with naive eyes the wonderment of the world of the imagination.
It is from these shell-like places of retreat that we take nourishment. It is from here, time after time, that we emerge, transformed, somehow different but the same.
This work is for me a celebration of these times of reinvention, these emergings.