artist statement: dry stone: walls & rocks

Dry Stone: Walls & Rocks (Sifnos, Greece)

Inhabitants of the Greek island of Sifnos have been piling up stones and rocks for thousands of years. In so doing, they have created and maintained to present day a vast network of dry stone walls, named such because they are constructed without using mortar. They have numerous uses, such as shelters, terracing for agriculture and fencing for livestock, and they also play a valuable role in preventing landslides and floods. Over the centuries, the practice of constructing dry stone walls has significantly altered and shaped the landscapes.

Evidence suggests that the same dry stone wall techniques practised today have been handed down from one generation to the next since prehistoric times. On Nov. 28, 2018, the art of dry stone walling, including its knowledge and techniques, as practised in Greece and 7 other countries, was inscribed onto the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

This collection of photographs, titled Dry Stone, is based on the dry stone walls of Sifnos, Greece and the rocks that form them. It has been divided into two parts, Stone Walls & Rocks and Stone Abstracts. While the walls can be admired for their historical significance, their design beauty and the skill required in their construction, I also like to look at them in another way. I see the walls as a metaphor for a family, or an organization, or a community. Whether it be the larger-than-life rock that holds the others in place and gives them support, or the smaller ones of a more common and consistent size and shape, or any of the others, all must work together to form a strong and functioning wall that can stand the test of time.


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