As someone who has worked extensively with photography and video I have often pondered upon the impact of visual media on our memory.
I am always taken aback at how little I remember of people that exist within the situations of my life and how quickly memories leap back when I see an image of these same people.
Using the medium of oil painting as a metaphor for dreaming ‘We Become Abstract’ explores my own and others lived situations by translating the memory (photograph) into a dream (painting).
The paintings are dream like reinterpretations with jarring depth and vivid colours that spit details that wakes you in a cold sweat. In dreams you can recognise people but you don’t know why, because you couldn’t see their faces. You could recognise intangible values of their being such as the gait of their walk, their build and gestures, or the context of their existence.
Much of this work is a confluence of influences including understanding the reality of civil rights movements orchestrated by marginalised people across the world including, disability rights movements and various anti colonial independence movements. What was common amongst all of these situations was the authorised prescription of how marginalised people should be seen and portrayed.
This work is a reaction to the excoticised, ethnographic imagery crafted by world renowned media outlets – allowing for marginalised people to be spared the narrative of marginalisation.
Instead of using existing and familiar portrayals, I chose to use simple everyday images to portray marginalised people and crucially create a provocation through their edited absence to prompt the viewer to question the privilege of their own gaze.
I turned to my own vast photographic collection and looked for images for the seemingly least political images to use as the basis for the paintings, pushing them beyond the realms of reality into dreams.
We Become Abstract
Their pain is impalpable
Until owned by those who’d never endured it. They sing as they work silently seeking equality
Never stepping out of line
But, the bright colours of their being set them apart from others
They’re seen contorted to t the others world view Limbs left akimbo as if affronted to something or other
Beyond humanity unkind words are spat to keep them notorious
We are all the same but
We become abstract, insigni cant and unrequited Never a good word spoken unless we move beyond our station
Sewn within the seam of Our city without care A fringe of everyday life that is no frill
The tiny muscles of society
Helping each limb of daily life move forward The silence of servitude sets us apart
From pink sky to pink sky
Weaving the relentless day is unrested In I strained the corner of your eyes Sitting
Holding the worlds umbrella
Above us all
In the narrowest margins of anywhere We attend the sprawl of space Without kismet