My husband and I moved to Bordeaux, France for just over a year, with our two young daughters. We were naive. We thought we spoke French, we had taken French for years in school, but we soon discovered we were actually speaking at the level of a three year old child! We were both educated, and had been raised in respectable families in our native land. But none of that mattered in this foreign country. A truly humbling experience that any refugee must encounter when leaving their homeland. It shed a whole new light on humanity and society.
After discovering a huge stack of newspapers in our otherwise barren apartment, I began the process of creating the black and white striped Sticks. I wanted to create something out of nothing. I had no art supplies with me and was eager for the challenge of working with whatever happened to present itself. In many ways this idea was also the basis of our experience as a family.
BLACK & WHITE – My first association with the colors ‘black and white’ are from my childhood, in Ireland, in the 70’s. My parents were involved in the anti-apartheid movement symbolized by a black and white yin and yang symbol. When there was a march, my father would load us up into the car, rain or shine, so we could join in and show our support. In my 20’s I was introduced to the Hook Head peninsula and my husband’s family. At the end of the peninsula sits a beautiful black and white lighthouse. They say it’s the oldest lighthouse in Europe. This place, this lighthouse.. represents family. Later in life, another strong association with black and white came from living in France and experiencing this duo within theatre, design, and fashion.
THE NEWSPAPERS enabled me to document a variety of influences (politics, fashion, food, sport, the arts etc.) that impacted everyday life. They also document this particular experience in the context of history and time.
LANGUAGE: ‘Palper, Toucher, Sentir’ (to feel, to touch, to smell) . This painting was inspired by three significant modes of learning that left a deep impression. Other works include: ‘to read, to listen, to speak‘.