This is an archive post from my 2016 project 100 Paintings, 100 Days, which ran from April – September 2016
Inter – mission
Hello, dear friends. You’ve probably been wondering why the long radio silence. Well as a matter of fact, I’ve been on a long week long adventure to volunteer in the refugee camps of Calais and Dunkirk, and to document what I see! So here is my special surprise for you, although delayed due to technical complications along the way: a series of missives from the front-line of the European refugee crisis.
I have 7 new paintings for you, starting later today. And, as you will see, it’s probably better that there is this gap in time of a week The fact is that what I have experienced in this short time-frame has changed me, and I think it will be days perhaps weeks before I can fully process it. So this delay will give a little space for the reflection needed to get things across well, and hopefully give as true a picture of what I saw and heard and of the amazing people I met as possible.
It sounds a little dramatic to say it but I make no apology: what I have seen, cannot be unseen – it is impossible for me now to go back to living my live just as before, turning a blind eye to the very real and pressing plight of the 6,000 plus refugees currently living in squalid conditions in camps in Northern France and in Paris, not to mention the many thousands more across Europe. I have witnessed the strength of the human spirit shining through in the many refugees I met and their hope and their dignity in searching for a better life for themselves and their families, while facing incredible obstacles and hardships.
Out of sight, out of mind – not an option, for me, now.
I’m writing this, having just arrived back in Norwich, England, after 8 hours travelling. So it is time, for a proper sleep in a proper bed. I feel the privelege of this position now.
As a taste of what to expect, I offer you here a sneak preview from my Dunkirk sketchbook. I’m really looking forward to sharing more with you over the coming days.
PS Have decided for the remaining duration of the 100 Paintings project will give 15% of everything sold to charities helping refugees in Dunkirk and Calais.
PPS *A rough translation of Bismillah is ‘in the name of God.’ It’s used as a greeting in the Arabic world Other possible translations are
– By means of the very essence of God
– For the glory of our Creator
– With the light of the One
– With the guidance of The Divine
– As an instrument of the One
– In harmony with Divine Presence.
‘Inter -mission 1 (sketchbook page)’ – pencil and watercolour on paper – 21 cm x 30 cm
‘Inter -mission 2 (sketchbook page)’ – pencil, crayon, and wash on paper – 21 cm x 30 cm –
£88 for the pair (or £50 each)