Michael Douglas Jones – Artist Statement

(Written by the artist for his exhibition, Our Ancient Pages)

I was born of this earth, born of this soil, as you were born, and there comes a time when we long to return to our first home, where we once walked the long line of follow thy father, yet we find that the border is closed; we are no longer welcome, our clothes, our skin, our name, has changed. The marksmen walk behind the long line of eastern pine, their rifle barrels catch and throw the shine of midday sun, and they watch the dead line.

In the length of a lifetime, I longed to cross the border, I walked just this side of the dead line, my father’s blood oiled pistol in my waistcoat, ready for the fight, my fear, forgotten in the fatigue of age, but there was a wisdom that stopped me. I remembered the pages, so I turned south, moving back beyond the tree line, to sit upon the split oak until day-end, to wait for the moonless road, when I will return to my ancient home, to the earth, to the soil of my birth.

Tucked inside a pocket of my soul coat, deep behind my weary heart, I carry the ancient pages; fragments mostly, of stories told across the oakwood smoke of low winter fires, from fathers to sons, from nursing mothers to every baby born. The heroes, whose small deeds grew like sown seeds through the generations, whose names were changed by each new ruling religion; heroes, whose love grew into compassion and invention which appeared to be magic, which begat faith, which was written into law, which forced war, which drew blood, drew borders, until love stole across the lines of limit to find itself in the face of another whose speech was foreign, but whose coat pocket contained the same ancient pages.

Tucked inside our soul coats, deep behind our hearts, we, each and all, carry our ancient pages, and cross borders, until there are no more borders, and we are all the same; born of this soil.

– Michael Douglas Jones, 2019

You can read an interview with the artist from Delaplaine Arts fall 2019 issue here.