The Gypsy and the River – Book of Fate

Earlier this week Kathleen and I visited Cupar to take in some of the exhibits in the Cupar Arts Festival. This a biennial event and is only open to invited artists. Perhaps because of this the exhibits tend to the modern, abstract and installation variety. Not really my cup of tea. But it is always good to open the mind to alternative visions.

One of the unusual exhibits was lodged in the library and took the form of a book. Book of Fate to be precise. The creation of young Scottish artist Rosie Lesso, Book of Fate is a large hand bound, black covered book. Inside there are thirteen prints based on locations in Cupar. Each print is meant to illustrate in some way a character or personality or simply what fate has in store. Alongside each print is a list of words or phrases which again, is meant to further illuminate the fate. There were detailed instructions on how to use the book, which involved putting on white gloves, picking up the book, closing your eyes, opening the book at a page, putting the open book back down on its resting table. Then you can explore your fate! Below is what I discovered.
I have to say that I have never really thought of myself as a gypsy. I do like solid houses too much. On the other hand I have also liked to travel and when younger always assumed that I would end up living in another country. My lack of special attachment to any particular place could be summed up in the words of the song – any place I hang my hat is home. So perhaps, gypsy is not too far fetched a character description. The difficulties begin with the words chosen to illustrate this character. Some are fairly standard and could as easily be applied to anyone. But a few are odd and do not immediately make any sense or connection for me. A single feather for example or twins. Not aware of any twins in the family, even going back several generations. The print is even less intelligible. I cannot really make out anything in it. Still it was an interesting and fun activity which did, even momentarily get the old grey cells in action again.

When it came to Kathleen’s turn she opened the book at The River. Lots of possibilities for what river can mean and some could easily apply to Kathleen. Life-giving for one. Again though, the words in the list are more difficult to fathom, as is the print. Which, no doubt, is the point of the exercise. During the festival there was an opportunity to have a private consultation with the artist to find out what fate has in store. We decided to forego this offer. I end with the words and image of The River.


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