Patricia Rozental

Sandbag Syndrome

I first became fascinated by sandbags about 4 years ago after spotting some slumped on Brighton seafront. I had just had a Hysterectomy and the sandbags looked how I felt.

For me, they have become a metaphor for the human condition; conjuring up images of the elderly or demented sitting around in homes; of the homeless; refugees living in camps or shanty towns or as I experienced whilst living in Belgium claiming sanctuary in various churches around the city of Brussels, where they erected tents inside the buildings from which they couldn’t be evicted. When dangling from road signs in perilous situations they remind me of my own son and people like him, struggling with autism or mental illness, barely hanging on to daily life, like sandbags largely ignored by the wider society


However the sandbag is a valuable commodity, it has a job to do. It has a protective quality, in areas such as war zones and natural disasters, which appeals to one of the key themes in my work, that of the Mother/Carer, protecting what is dear.


I find it fascinating to remove abandoned sandbags from their normal state.  Placing them on pieces of furniture, passed down through my family, and by the visual, reflective and textural qualities of plaster, I transform them. I give each one an individuality and otherwise indiscernible beauty. The elderly, dejected and neglected are still beautiful in their own right, have a value and remain individuals to the end.


Sandbag Syndrome | Methodist Church | Art in Woodstock


All images copyrighted © 2016 Patricia Rozental

night in worthing, frieze 2009, AIW a 174 threads Laughing Torso