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19 Mar 2015

Numinous: Photographs By Sara Hannant

Numinous: Of, Pertaining To, Or Like Numen - Divine Power Or Spirit: A Deity Especially One Presiding Locally Or Believed To Inhabit A Particular Thing Or Place.

The photographic exhibition Numinous by Sara Hannant is inspired by the tradition of offering votive rags at Holy Wells.

In British folklore wells have long been regarded as sacred places where visitors can leave offerings of ribbons and cloths, sometimes called ‘clouties’, as symbols of wishes to be fulfilled. The cloth embodies the bearer as it enters the forces of nature.

However many of these fabrics do not biodegrade and are removed by guardians of these ancient sites before the elements can fulfil the wish. Sara has collected the discarded cloths at Cornwall’s Holy Wells and re-animated them by using the elements of water, air, fire and earth to complete the process. The results are images that combine ritual with spiritual transformation.

Her photographs, made in camera, appear to expose spirits or human forms in an imaginary realm which invite magical belief.

Sara Hannant Says, “The Work Explores A Dialogue Between Contemporary Votive Rags And Ancient Folk Magic. On My First Visit To The Holy Wells In Cornwall I Noticed Numerous Colourful Cloths And Ribbons Tied To The Trees, Some Were Inscribed With Healing Wishes. Among The Rags Hung A Corn Dolly, A Silver St Christopher Medallion And Several Tibetan Prayer Flags. However Many People Who Leave Offerings Are Of An Undefined Spirituality: The Cloths Connect Pilgrims’ Hopes And Dreams To The Opaque But Powerful Numinous.”

She is returning to Forty Hall Estate with Numinous, following the success of her touring exhibition Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey through the English Ritual Year which was well-received at the Hall in 2014. The event and exhibition programme at Forty Hall Estate focuses on art, ecology and heritage and the Jacobean interiors of the Hall will provide a unique backdrop for Hannant’s strikingly beautiful imagery.

Exhibition supported by Metro Imaging.

For further information, interview opportunities and images, contact Sara Hannant mail@sarahannant.com or telephone 07932 717272

Project commissioned by Forty Hall Estate, London Borough of Enfield, supported by Heritage Lottery Fund


Forty Hall Estate, Forty Hill, London, EN2 9HA http://www.fortyhallestate.co.uk Tel: 020 8363 8196
Opening Hours Tuesday – Friday 11am- 5pm and Saturday & Sunday 12 noon – 5pm

Sara’s recent work includes the book and Horniman Museum touring exhibition Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey through the English Ritual Year, Collective Observations: Sir Benjamin Stone to Flickr at Towner Gallery, Eastbourne and Travelling with Unfamiliar Spirits at Cob Gallery, London. Forthcoming book, Of Shadows: 100 Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. Sara lives in London and is currently a lecturer in Photography at City University

Forty Hall is a Grade 1 listed Jacobean Manor House, nestled in leafy Enfield and set amidst a historic estate. Forty Hall is open 6 days a week to the general public and offers an exciting and innovative event and exhibition programme the year round which focuses on art, ecology and heritage.

For further information about Forty Hall Estate please visit the website www.fortyhallestate.co.uk or call 020 8363 8196.

To coincide with the exhibition Sara will be in conversation talking about the Numinous at Forty Hall Estate. In Conversation with Sara Hannant, Wednesday 6 May at 7.30pm £5
Photographer Sara Hannant joins local history guide and speaker, Joe Studman to talk about her latest exhibition’ Numinous’ and the inspiration behind the work. Discussion will explore folklore and spirituality and promises to be an entertaining and lively look at the latest exhibition. With Q & A.

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