Tribute to Neville Ferry
Silence is Music
Neville Ferry at Santa Lucia
Listen to the sound of silence. It is the most ravishing type of music. It is nature’s language that touches the heart and mind.
Neville loves nature. He would come to my house at four in the morning drag me from my bed and off we go to Mnajdra and Hagar Qim to observe and enjoy sunrise.
This enclave is a time tunnel. It is an escape and reaches out into infinity. Nature, time and space are man’s best friends. They are his worst enemies too. But isn’t life a complex paradox? The polarity in life evokes so much magic and mystery.
Standing on the cliff edge we would hear the sea breaking on the rocks, rushing on the pebbles, caressing the sand. The sound from the cliff edge becomes a heavenly murmur, a whisper. But it is the truth: it is nature’s language. We let nature be our master and poetry melts our heart away.
The cool inland breeze blowing from over the Island of Filfla on a hot August day refreshes our brow. It ruffles our hair, caresses our skin hair and dampens our parched lips with brine. It also softly fingers, fondles and gambols around the huge megaliths.
How ecstatic! The salty brine, the smell of wild thyme, the buzzing and droning of bees, the chirping of birds, the scent of myriads of wild flowers, a carpet of poppies act like a drug, an opiate. The atmosphere becomes contagious.
The night sky studded with stars is poetry. The August dew falling like rain, the rhythm of the seasons, sunrise and sunset, the cry of seagulls, the music in nature is food for meditation, for contemplation and reflection. The mood is inspiring and awesome.
The atmosphere cast by Mnajdra inspires Neville. He creates stones, phallic symbols – the conception of life’s seed. He chooses rocks as language. For stones do speak. They are so eloquent. They have a spirit, a soul.
Rocks are formed by time and the elements. Just like man. Their stratified formation is language. And like mountains they have character and a spirit like man. Wordsworth spoke of the spirit of the mountains. We speak of the spirit of the forest, of the lake. And like man, rocks form and deteriorate to be recycled into physical matter again and again, infinitely – the story of creation, of time.
Like rocks man with time shrivels, develops wrinkles and blemishes. But old men become full of wisdom and their words of advice ring true as suffering and experience educate and mature. Their words ring true. Neville’s ceramic works ring, peal and clang like bells. Wisdom emanates from stone and although inorganic is animistic.
Neville’s stones are evocatively mythical and therefore lyrical and poetic. He imitates nature’s textures but in the process he interprets its mysterious and magical qualities, its intrinsic properties.
E. V. Borg