This project explores the connections we have with others and what it is to be a migrant.
The faces are of people I know. Some of them are still present in my life, others played an important part in my life but are left behind. As a traveler and a migrant these meetings and leavings are a part of the way of life. All encounters carry both a richness and an emotional toll. The work expresses those feelings. The closed eyes represent the duality of presence and absence. These people are part of me and will always be. Their imprint is indelible.
The second phase of the work is the imprint of the faces in sand. The photographing of these creates the optical illusion that the faces are prominent instead of hollow. This dual perspective reflects the duality of bonding and leaving behind. The sand is an illusion to the ‘sands of time’; that we are all part of the cycle of life; fragile. Our value in life is marked by our legacy, the imprint we leave behind. In time the pressed images also disappear.
The project is about some of the clichés and assumptions we carry around with us. As with all clichés, there can be elements of truth, but these ideas can also be used as a kind of protection against thinking or facing up to uncomfortable emotions.
The four titles refer to words which are often used in the context of children. They were part of the 21st Century Learning Goals, they are the skills and abilities that have been identified as being necessary for success in 21st century society by educators, business leaders, academics, and governmental agencies. Whilst not disputing the value of these skills, I have often wonder what children think of these ‘goals’ and what effect it has on them hearing the constant expectations.
Four paintings of myself as a child were randomly ripped and then mended by stitching them together. The faces are still recognisable, but bear the scars of expectations and experiences.
The two adult faces were made at the beginning and end of a holiday. The stitches again became a metaphor for the vulnerability we all carry, that is more or less visible at different times.
Break was a way of exploring thoughts and feelings about vulnerability, change and the inevitability of the cycle of life. It also became about living in the moment, closely observing emotions and physical reactions.
The sculptures were deliberately broken in a variety of ways. Any decisions about what to do with what remained, (or not to do,) had to be made swiftly and intuitively to further explore the impact of destruction. The project became a way of looking at what we do with things that are broken or damaged, it became about how we deal with what remains.
SKETCHBOOKS - RECOVERY 2017
Recovery was a sketch book project undertaken after a medical operation. It became the first of a long series of sketchbooks over the next few years. These have been used in a variety of different ways.
Each day as I recuperated I made a drawing; this was done blind to access the thoughts and feelings of the day. The drawings were then intuitively coloured using inks. The practice became part of the recovery. These are just some of the drawings.
SKETCHBOOKS - DIALOGUE BY IMAGE 2017
This project was undertaken with my daughter Lizzie Joosten in the Summer of 2017. The project began with the premise that dialogue brings greater understanding; from that emerges a shift in ideas and relationships.
We wanted to find out what would happen if we began a dialogue of sketch book pages. We both use sketchbooks on an almost daily basis and agreed share each day’s pages with each other for four weeks. The second week we added questions; they did not need to be directly replied to, but the intention was to stimulate thought and perhaps influence our work.
It was an act of curiosity. We knew that it would require a level of honesty and openness as well as an acceptance of vulnerability; we did not know what the exchange would bring.
The sum became bigger than the parts. We decided to publish the work; for now it had become a whole work. Our sounding board can now become a sounding board for others; a point of discussion, questions, criticism, sharing and reflection.
The book is available to purchase.
20 euros + postage & packaging