Bernard Appassamy



Between Body and Memory

Handwriting a letter involved rituals, craft and layers of cognitive skills now bygone.

As a migrant arriving from Mauritius before email existed, I accumulated thousands of handwritten personal letters, aerogrammes and documents. These records spanned events, from the mundane to the notable, from birth to death, across several correspondents, countries and decades.

My community’s history is collated into a work resembling the rings of a tree or a topographic map. The contents remain confidential, with only a hint of the singular handwriting. The laborious hand cutting and gluing of each layer of paper mirrors the generosity of time and sentiment in these epistolary relationships.

For quite some months. they stayed in their boxes, while the contents of her desk went unexamined. It wasn't the weight of responsibility that held me back; more, superstition. Her body was gone, cremated according to her instructions; her memory, kept by family and friends and ex-students, would burn intermittently. But here, in my flat, was something between body and memory. Dead pieces of paper which were somehow capable of giving life. -- from 'Elizabeth Finch' by Julian Barnes

44 x 42 x 7 cm

Private handwritten correspondence and PVA glue.

Collection Preservation
Tegan Anthes from Collect Preserve

Felicity Jenkins

- Michael Mullins and The Sydney BAG (Book Art Group), especially Lisa Giles and Avril Makula.
- Also Carolyn Long, Sue Paull, Claire Tennant and Themistos Themistou.