‘Saving our Souls’ is one of three new artworks which will be on display at The Lightbox in Woking, UK as part of the Royal Society of Sculptors’ exhibition: Parallel Lines: Drawing and Sculpture. The piece was made in response to John Behan’s work Ghost Boat. It will also be exhibited alongside Behan’s piece as well as works by other great masters such as Dame Barbara Hepworth, Sir Anthony Caro, Lynn Chadwick, Eduardo Paolozzi, Michael Ayrton, and kenneth Armitage.
Find out more about the exhibition here.
Exhibition runs: 22nd June - 25th August 2019
About the work
The troubled history of the Irish incorporates a long history of war and famine. I have long been inspired by Behan’s harrowing and powerful boat sculptures, depicting how these travels across the seas have ended in separation from families, loss of status and identity, or death. Pan forward to the current migrant crisis and we can draw many comparisons. To me the other side of the story is what happens under the water in the hidden currents of reaction: The opposing responses of either capturing and detaining these fleeing shoals of people, or helping them to safety.
I work with NGOs to tell stories of immigrants in my work, but these ‘Net Drawings’ were a more abstract way of describing the complications of such upheavals, revealing unexpected forms. They become allegorical for the journeys we all make at one time or another, in differing levels of safety, to find a promised New World. I draw by burning the surface of calligraphy paper. My medium is the charcoal brown as the paper changes state. Contrasting the substantial physicality of Behan's Ghost Boat, I have kept the ethereal simplicity of white paper, the burning being the only colour and line needed.