About Maria Sappho
Maria Sappho is an improviser, researcher, and artist. Her works stem primarily from verbatim collaborative theatrical storytelling with strong perspectives on nature, mythology, feminism, and community. She is a current PhD Candidate at Huddersfield University, on the European Research Council project IRiMaS (Interactive Research in Music as Sound). Her work is about gentle moments of activism, and she surrounds her practice with initiatives for sharing the voices and works of others who are often not given the space they deserve in our contemporary artistic canons. For this she volunteers for Mopomoso TV, the longest running free improvisation series in the UK. She runs the Feminist Free Improvisation archive for representing female identifying and non-binary free improvising artists, and is also the co-editor of the monthly discursive political arts magazine the-MASS.
Rocks I have Taken is a collection of Venus figurine sculptures accompanied by short films, music and stories made from rocks collected from various landscapes. Each location is used as a historical window into the land from which the rock came from and is accompanied by a brief, and non-extensive text of the history of the land this rock inhabited. Each location has in one way or another felt the invasion of human presence. These are stories both ancient and present, which tell the different paths of exchanging histories, conquered and stolen lands, lost cultures, languages and lives.
The stories are accompanied by musical compositions made in response to short films of un-carved rocks. At the heart of the project are the sculptures, which were made in speculative imitation of ancient Venus figurines. Each figure depicts a woman’s form carved out of the rock, a witness to the many lost histories, lives, and stories, of the land. These forms are the speculative watchers of the chaos, change, and renewal of the land. They were carved with chisel and Dremel and take inspiration from the theory that Venus figurines were carved by women, often from the perspective of looking down at their own body.