25th - 28th April
The Old Music Centre, 49 London Road, GL5 2AD
Refreshments generously provided by Deya and Living Things.
Over yonder
Over mound and moon
Lead me to death
Where I am born
- Automatic writing by Milligan Beaumont

Sacred Thing is thrilled to present Bat, Moon, Womb, the debut exhibition by Tump.

Tump was founded by artists Alex Merry, Flora Wallace and Milligan Beaumont, as a means of connection with the local landscape and of playful inquiry into the enigmatic megaliths of Gloucestershire and the South West. Bat, Moon, Womb is the first in a series of exhibitions and happenings to be organised by the group.

The exhibition’s starting point is Hetty Pegler’s Tump, a Neolithic chambered burial mound in Uley, near Stroud. The artists have spent time inside the long barrow, creating automatic drawings and writings (a technique developed by the Surrealists in the 1920s as a way of tapping into one’s repressed psyche), assimilating its environment and carrying out a sensory archaeology through a combination of intuition, soil samples and field recordings. It is accepted that the tump was used as a place for burial, but we will never know the full extent of its significance. It is this unknowing that Tump have found to be fertile with inspiration, imagining histories and reconsidering their own connections to life, death and the land.
Bat, Moon, Womb is an expansive multi-media exhibition that probes and playfully reimagines how the tump may have been used, not only by those who constructed it more than 5,000 years ago but also by other human and non-human beings in the many succeeding years.

The title of the exhibition is taken from an observation made during the artists’ first visit to the tump that felt significant as a triad of interconnected symbols. Upon entering the tump, the artists were met with a sleeping bat, a creature that in many cultures is seen as a messenger from the spirit world for its ability to sense what it can’t see. In shamanism it is symbolic of death and life, endings and beginnings. The moon is widely recognised as a symbol of femininity and the embodiment of life cycles. It is intrinsically and mysteriously connected to the female reproductive system and there is even anecdotal evidence to suggest that more births occur during a full moon than other phases of the lunar cycle. In mythological lore, long barrows hold a special significance as gateways to the domain of the goddess, their entrances are interpreted as symbolic representations of the goddess's vagina, with the interior likened to her womb.

Performances on the opening and closing nights of the exhibition included a live performance by musician Cosmo Sheldrake.

Exhibition photography by Ralph Ward: