In the eve of summer, a little girl took a walk.  The sky was alight with a strange cloud, and she came upon a talisman, who showed her where the darkness was, and how to eat it. The road became dark and confusing. There was no one around, no voices or chittering, and in the silence there was an eerie peace.  The darkness in her belly beckoned her forward, and she arrived at a place to rest.  She dreamed of amorphous beings with no faces, alarming and terrible, for their masks were heartbreaking. They told her to continue on the road. She met other children on her travels, and collected their souls in a little basket.  When she reached the river, she released all of the darkness and all of the souls, to become stars.

This series of oil pastels were made while looking through childhood photographs, and sitting in a dark emotional space.  Some of the time periods are filled with sadness for the children, and sometimes the adults, as the knowledge of hindsight and the understanding of intergenerational trauma unfolds over the years of these memories. I’ve spent time trying to make sense of the smiling faces and the memories that I have of those times.  It’s like a fiction that was meant to be pushed forward into the future. ‘But look, you were so happy’.  But sometimes children smile because people tell them to. When I sit down to make work in response to those confusing feelings and visuals, these dark shapes appear, lone children in large empty landscapes, nondescript storybook places.

Who sees these children? Who reaches out to them with empathy and compassion? Who tells them that they deserve a gentle space? Maybe I’m trying to make sense of the past, or create images that reconcile the physical memorabilia with the lived experience.  Maybe I’m setting them free, not in a made-up world of false facades, but in the real world of their existence; confusing, unsettling, but acknowledged.  All children can do is accept everything as it is, until they are old enough to have perspective. 

‘Burning Bush’, 13×8 in., oil pastel on 300lb watercolor paper, 2021 Private Collection
‘The Walk’, 9×13 in., oil pastel on 300lb watercolor paper, 2022
‘Visitation’, 6×5 in., oil pastel on 300lb watercolor paper, 2021
‘The Eating Tree’, 6×4 in., oil pastel on 300lb watercolor paper, 2021
‘The Message’, 5×4 in., oil pastel on 300lb watercolor paper, 2022
‘The Party’, 3.5×5 in., oil pastel on 300lb watercolor paper, 2022 SOLD
‘The Field’, 5×5 in., oil pastel on 300lb watercolor paper, 2022
‘Armchair’, 5×4 in., oil pastel on 300lb watercolor paper, 2021
‘The Comet’, 5×8 in., oil pastel on 300lb watercolor paper, 2022 SOLD
‘Starlight’, 9×9.5 in., oil pastel on 300lb watercolor paper, 2022
‘Wedding’, 5×6 in., oil pastel on 300lb watercolor paper, 2022
‘Protection’, 9×9.5 in., oil pastel on 300lb watercolor paper, 2022
‘Yellow Blanket’ 5×6 in., oil pastel on 300lb watercolor paper, 2022
‘The Forest’, 5×5 in., oil pastel on 300lb watercolor paper, 2022