Laocoon (I can't breathe)
Laocoon (I can't breathe)
Wax, plaster of paris, resin

Made for this year's groving 2021 Monument (
This work shows Laocoon, a Trojan Priest, with his nose cut away. The original sculpture would have been made in the second century BC in Greece.

He is said to be The prototypical icon of human agony (N Spivey 2001)

In ancient Egypt, statues were often defaced. Monuments of people were thought to represent an interface between life and the supernatural. They believed that a soul could occupy the sculpture of a person, so such vandalism deactivated their strength.

Once a body part was damaged it was thought to be unable to perform its purpose any longer.

A broken nose meant the spirit ‘stopped breathing’.

The work is approx 5cm x 5cm x 5cm and was carefully left on the streets of Bury St Edmonds in August, by Barbara Dougan, to meet it's destiny.

Two writers were invited to respond to the work;

Broken in body but still unbowed,
Your spirit lives on
In the memories of those who loved you.

You are still the boy of dreams
And the man who aspired to be the best
To the family and friends who knew you.

If your memories are our memories
Then your life is ours and you live on through us
In an endless thread of life.

We have no need of monuments to you
Since you are deep inside us
Where you cannot be defaced.

David Dougan


I don’t stare at you like an exhibit
I see you your queer body
how they’ve made you faceless
to deny you your vision your voice
how they’ve disarmed you
to halt you from holding giving taking
how they’ve made you groinless
to wipe out your wanting
how they’ve made you legless
to stop you from rising running

I see me just a head
the world on my shoulders

a heart in a taut self inflated chest

you show me we survive dismemberment

James McDermott