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David Johnson

Video artist, drawing


David’s Emerging Artist project ‘Visitations’ explores grief, guilt and subjective experience. Through exploration of video, he explores his response to the loss of a school friend and his grandmother, focussing on their appearance to him on particular bus journeys. The following are extracts from David’s written descriptions of his experiential response to loss.


“The blonde boy was a figure I often saw sitting at the back of the bus on my way home from Uni. If I ever turned around to get a clear view there would be no-one there. The sense I got at the time was one of comfort, protection and compassion. I was very lonely and often the bus would be empty except for me and the driver so having someone there was reassuring, especially in the winter when much of the journey was in almost total darkness”.



“I have only seen my Grandma on the bus once and it was the most affecting of the "visitations". I was sat near the back of the bus when I noticed that the elderly woman sat near the front had basically the same build, posture and even facial features as my grandma Janet who had died three years earlier. I never felt anything but goodness and positivity from her whilst she was alive but this potential ghost of her was filled with anger and judgement. I generally tried to avert my gaze but it seemed every time I looked at her she would start to turn around, I never dared look long enough to have her look all the way around”.

David said that he felt privileged to have been selected for the Emerging Artist Programme. Through this programme, he has been able to materialise an expression to the feelings of loss which had occupied him for a long time.

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