• Jacqueline Grace

The Seeker Birds

Updated: Jul 21, 2019

A flock of seeker birds had come, and in a whirlwind of buffeting feathers they had shot through her body with the reckless precision of a seasoned hunter. Piercing through her as though she were an ancient sandstone bridge. Now the screeching swarm bruised the sky above.

But she was not ancient and it was in the forever of an instant that she was hollowed out.

The empty space that was her once hidden now cried with the howl of a wily wind trapped within a rocky cranny;

“Everything’s gone.”

The greying ocean that stretched out before her broke the cry with its windswept voice;

“Gone yes, but what lies beneath?”

She did not stir.

The bitter south wind echoed the question, in its raspy sand - filled way;

“What lies beneath?”

Yet the woman upon the rocks remained motionless, save for the briefest flicker across her eyes. She was so numbed by the salt and the cold and the puncture wound that she was unable to speak.

The waves in their anguish rushed upon the rocks with insistent fury and the wind hollered serpentine streaks through the heavy sky. The seeker birds whirled out of the clouds and descended upon her. For the third and final time she was assailed with the same unbearable question.

“What lies beneath?”

The salt shell that bound her skin shattered into fault lines. She heard a small clunk, as something inside the brittle space dislodged and fell to the rocks at her feet.

The seeker birds left as abruptly as they had come vanishing into the bleak skies beyond.

Artist Statement

Based on my own lived experience, this mixed media- sculptural and sound piece - is responding to the  relationship between depression, anxiety and women's contraceptives.  In the absence of sufficient evidence-based research, qualitative research and anecdotal accounts of the often debilitating mental health experiences of women using contraceptive are repeatedly marginalised, refuted and dismissed. What lies beneath this abyss ?

A 2017 Danish study of over 1 million women, spanning 16 years, showed 47 % of women who have used contraceptives experienced mental health issues, with a staggering 80% increase in the experience of mental illness in young women taking oral contraceptives.  Yet little has been done to advance medical research into causative relationship, leaving women dis-empowered, disoriented and silenced.

In the meantime, the University of Copenhagen is undertaking a study into the correlation between suicide and women’s contraceptives.

The seeker birds continue their desperate flight.

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