The Wheat Guardian of Shieldfield, 2020

The Urban Wheat Guardian, is one of two costumes and masks I have been making over 2020, the second is the Fish Spirit Catcher. The Urban Wheat Guardian was designed to forms part of the event that celebrations the 2020 wheat harvest in Shieldfield. The mask tells the story of the urban wheat growing project during the year, from planting the seed to harvesting, and baking. I think of the costume as a walking embodiment of the nexus of food and urbanity literally written on its body. We can set the entity free to wander the streets as the companion and guardian for urban food-gardeners and their hope for urban fertility and harvest.

These costumes form part of a nascent idea, formed from the approach that if cities in the near future are to become more productive then what kind of rituals and customs will emerge as part of the cultural aspect of local food production.

In this instance, I imagine the Urban Wheat Guardian will wonder the street of a city protecting and celebrating the autumn urban wheat harvest. The costume therefore forms an accompaniment too the near future vision of the edible map and walks. In the illustration below, its mask features a map of Shieldfield, which marks the streets where the wheat was grown, and tells the story of the harvest.

Video still from performance for the Shieldfield wheat harvest.
The costume above was made from wheat woven together and then painted.

below are a set of posters designed by  Illustrator Benji Spence.