Continued from Part 1
Approaching the house on a dirt road you only knew you’d reached your destination by the locals selling souvenirs opposite the building, and if you looked up you could see an owl perched on top of the roof. Owls featured heavily in Martin’s work, giving the house its name.
It’s hard to adequately describe what the house is visually. The interior is painted in bright, vibrant almost neon shades of red, yellow and green including the ceilings – one of which has a faced giant sun painted on it – covering most of the ceiling itself. All the interior walls and ceilings are also covered in crushed glass, which makes the house seem like a little girl’s dream. It shimmers and twinkles and feels very surreal and contradicts a lingering sense of sadness that hangs in the air.
|The green room|
The back garden of the house is cluttered with sculptures. What seems chaotic at first begins to take a bit more shape the longer you are among the works. People, animals and shelter domes (large enough for a person to sit inside cross-legged) constructed of concrete and glass bottles congest the yard; disguising a labyrinthine path in between the works.
|Wire quotes woven into chicken wire|
What she left behind is still astounding. It felt like taking a walk through someone else’s world, through Martins’ soul. At the time I identified with the sense of sadness that hung in the air and it reminded me that we all feel pain and loss but it’s what we do about it that counts. Her work reminds me of the complexities of the human condition and how strong and equally frail we can be.
As I’m sure you can tell by now the visit to this tiny village and museum has had a lasting effect on me. When I remember standing in her lounge looking at the giant sun on the ceiling I am encouraged that the sun will keep rising, the kitchen cluttered with owl figures perched on low window sills remind me to keep doing the things I love despite any of the hurdles (real and imagined) and the life-size procession of wise men (complete with camels) to the nativity scene in her yard reminds me that life always keeps moving.
She once told a friend: Dying isn’t the problem. Living is the problem. That is why we must live our lives passionately and to the full. My agony would be to “live dying” without being able to work. Words we can all live by.