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Exhibition at Crane Kalman Gallery, London
Behind the picture is a collection of paintings inspired by very ordinary objects that contain their own unique story. They may represent an inspirational life, an untimely death, a reminder of a momentous event, the memory of a loved one. The objects on their own may not be worth a second glance but when they become the symbol of human experience, they take on a totally different appearance and remain long after their owner as a reminder for future generations.
Other work alludes to personal experience, politics and nature.What threads them together is they all contain their own individual narrative.
I read an article in a newspaper about goats climbing trees to eat fruit. Apparently this only happens in parts of Morocco where the goats find the fruits of the argan tree irresistible (they taste like olives).
I painted this as a testament to the goats who will no longer be able to enjoy these fruits because they produce argan oil which is now being sold as an anti-aging product. The farmers follow the goats from tree to tree collecting their excrement in which the undigested seeds are hidden, and grind them into oil. Those marketing the oil felt it was not an attractive thought to put goat’s excrement on your face and have campaigned to keep the goats away from the argan trees forever.
How sad that we will no longer be able to witness this adorable sight and that they are banished from whatever the Moroccan equivalent of Eden may be.
This is a memory of their days in paradise.
One of the many descriptions Jack Alderman wrote from prison, about his wife, Barbara:
“Barbara was truly pleasing to the eyes. She had lustrous chestnut brown hair; she let me do a ponytail for her before we went horse riding or to the beach. Her eyes were hazel. There was depth, real windows to the soul. I spent countless hours sitting outside dressing rooms as she presented one outfit after another for my opinion. I did not complain. It was my pleasure.”
She was found dead in a creek near Savannah.He was accused of her murder. He pinned a photo of this painting to the wall of his cell and wrote to me saying she would have been honoured.
Colourful Buddhist prayer flags have been seen fluttering in the wind across Tibet for centuries. Each flag is inscribed with a prayer. Tibetans believe their prayers will be blown by the wind to spread peace and compassion into the world.
They are now discouraged by the Chinese Occupation.
Grandfather’s chair was never to be sat in by anyone but him. It became a game for us to try.
He worked in a clothing factory in an old mill in Stockport, Lancashire.
He would leave every morning on the dot of 7.15 wearing his tweed flat-cap and raincoat. If we were lucky he would take us there. I loved going – the smell of machine oil and bales of wool and striped ticking; boxes of giant spools of cotton thread in every colour, wads of zips, leather and horn buttons and the sound of machines clackety-clacking.
The natural world against man and his machinery.The penguins stand helplessly in a line.
The female penguins struggle to navigate their way to the sea to find food for their chicks due to rising temperatures and melting ice and many others are killed by oil slicks.
I often wear my son’s old shirt when I am painting. The left cuff has been removed for use as a rag. The yellow blossom is the joy of a flash of inspiration.
On July 13th 2012 thousands of followers of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood gathered in Tahrir Square to pray and express their support for President Mohammed Morsi, disappointing millions of Egyptians who had staged an uprising in the very same square the previous year, risking their lives for a meaningful democracy.
My father’s 1930s gold cigarette case with a sapphire clasp, lies across an old photograph of him. He sent this to my mother, when he was a debonair young man in the army with the words ‘fondest love’ scribbled across it.
He died of lung cancer aged 47.
James was my only brother.
He died before his 21st birthday when he was a student at Cambridge.
He was intelligent, handsome and sensitive. I still miss him and all the years we should have had together.
When I look at old photos of him now, I see his vulnerability in his slightly awkward stance,
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo in 2010. He was unable to attend because he was in Jinzhou Prison serving an eleven year sentence for ‘incitement to subvert state power’. His chair at the ceremony was left empty in his honour.
His statement at his trial read:
“I have no enemies and no hatred, None of the police who monitored, arrested or interrogated me, none of the prosecutors who indicted me, and none of the judges who judged me are my enemy. I look forward to the day when our country will be a land of free expression; a country where different values, ideas, beliefs and political views can compete with one another as they peacefully coexist… a country where it will be impossible to suffer persecution for expressing a political view. I hope that I will be the last victim in China’s long record of treating words as crimes.”
Two young boys in Dharamsala, India, training to become Buddhist monks.
‘Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.’
The Conversation we never had.