Tuesday, August 09, 2005


I am currently working on a series of canvases under the working title of Whipsers. I work mainly in collage and have always been drawn to old photos and antique ephemera but try to give them a contemporary relevance.

Over the last 18 months I have been looking into my family tree. The death of a close relative and the too-close-for-comfort experience of another lead me to thinking about our family in general and how small we are. In times of crises family pull together and support each other but what do you do when there is no one left?

Digging around the archives I became struck by the realisation that I did actually belong to a long line of relatives - real, living, breathing people with worries and hopes and dreams. Just like me.

I always remember when as a 5 year old we moved into the house my parents still live in today and I found handwriting under the peeling wallpaper of my new, empty bedroom. I can't remember what it said but I was fascinated by the idea that someone else had lived in that room before me. When I moved into my first home as an adult newspapers of another time were found under the carpet. Like ghosts, the essence of ordinary people living ordinary lives, unknown messages.

I go back to my memories of my childhood in that bedroom, the old peeling wallpaper covered in pretty pink flowers and forgotten for a time. Those flowers have now disappeared under numerous layers of paper and two layers of teracotta paint and the more recent blackcurrant. I go back to the unknown people who left memories of their own in that room before us. I think about the chain of people who loved and had children who grew up and loved and had children who became my parents who had me and my brother. I now have children who will carry on the chain into the future. Layers of memories surround us, ghostly whispers tell us we belong.