1969 January 4th, the ambush of the Peoples Democracy Civil Rights march en route from Belfast to Derry, attacked by an organised group with rocks and clubs. The ambush took place at Burntollet Bridge, just a few miles outside Derry City. That same evening when the Civil Rights march arrived in Derry, rioting broke out. The Civil Rights movement then became eclipsed by the Troubles, a pivotal moment in Irish history. There are family ties of a very different nature to this place. The artist’s grandmother was inseparable from her close friend, Jo. The last of her family line, Jo was deeply embedded in the Hutchinson family. Although born and reared in England, Jo was fiercely proud of her Irish roots, the Lyle family. Acheson Lyle, Jo’s ancestor, had been the “Lieutenant for the City and County of Londonderry” from 1860 to 1870. The Oaks, the Lyle family home, overlooked Burntollet Bridge. On her death, Jo left behind a family archive of photos, seals of office, embroidery, and watercolour sketch books of the Oaks and the Bridge. An idyllic and romantic picture of ruling class life.
The title solvitur ambulando, derives from the Latin phrase meaning ‘It Is Solved by Walking’. This references not only the 1969 Civil Rights march, but retracing of these steps on this contemporary personal journey. The oak tree and leaf are spread throughout the book, drawing on both the family house name and the Irish name for Derry.1
About the Artist
Benedict’s work explores this emotional disturbance, the psychological phenomenon called Cognitive Dissonance. Retracing that day’s march from Claudy to Burntollet, he uses the landscape and natural environment to explore the trauma and resonance of such incidents. This exploration is interwoven with the tapestry of the Lyle family archival material, presenting the imprinted beauty and pain of such a place.
External links & References
- “solvitur ambulando” The Library Project https://www.thelibraryproject.ie/products/solvitur-ambulando-benedict-hutchinson