Blue on White constitutes three works confronting civilian death.

Blue on White I - Past
Blue on White II - Present
Blue on White III - Future

Blue on White III – a classified installation for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A

‘Art not intended for public display using words not intended to be read’

Pas de Deux in Charcoal and Helmand Province sand on paper, 2013
Movement vocabulary using poems by Friedrich Rückert, Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children) by Gustav Mahler and Dark Elegies, ballet (1934) by Antony Tudor

About the Exhibition:

Blue on White III sees the value of contemporary art through a prism of the Government’s value of life.

And it is cheap.

It is about making some harsh state-funded price comparisons after visiting the Government Art Collection exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 2012 – the only British gallery to show Picasso’s Guernica.

It is about the GAC Advisory Committee putting a value of £64,250 on an installation for the Ministry of Justice and in the same year, 2010, the Ministry of Defence valuing human life at just £542 – the compensation paid for a child accidently killed in Afghanistan, a so-called Blue on White.*

“….painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.”

In a sterile, classified space, flickering with screens that convert the enemy into game play, Haversham asks whether there is room on the wall to publicly commission contemporary art that puts value and loss back into human beings.

Art not for public view; but classified works that stem from classified thoughts of grief and humanity - it is hoped that after the exhibition at the New Hall Art Collection, Blue on White III will never be seen in public again.

*source: The Guardian War Logs

This exhibition takes Mahler’s choice of five songs and slightly re-arranges the order. As you go along the gallery wall, the works move from dark to light – a symbolic feature of the poetry. In respect of Ruckert’s wishes, the text is layered and largely hidden – just as music transcends literal meaning, the marks on paper move with anguish and vigour, in increasingly abstracted phrasing.

Ruckert was a linguist of over 50 languages and he was an expert in oriental poetry. The structure of these lines – the repetition – lends itself well to the choreographic technique employed.

Each piece is mix of both German and English, with certain lines resonating during a process of improvisation to form the whole. The exhibition was rehearsed beforehand on smaller scrolls and only completed the night before hanging at New Hall. Thus each work is fresh, created in an outburst of energy with a beginning, middle and an end.

Haversham studied at drama school before embarking on a career in performance – to find the emotional truth in language is an important aspect in this training and one that resonates in her two dimensional work.

Further reading on Ruckert’s text:
Rushing, Randal. Gustav Mahler's Kindertotenlieder: Subject and Textual Choices and Alterations of the Friedrich Rückert Poems, A Lecture Recital Together with Three Recitals of Selected Works of F. Schubert, J. Offenbach, G. Finzi, and F. Mendelssohn. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library.


This was flown back from the front line, Helmand province in 2008 by the Army. It was a time of intense fighting and was intended for a series of installations at the National Army Museum, London.

At the time, there was a feeling by those who were putting their lives at risk that this was a forgotten war as the focus was very much on Iraq.

Blue on White asks to be hidden away to reach those who make life or death decisions in private and in safety.