Before I fully assess my FMP after the private view, I wanted to briefly summarise my work…
I have finished 5 final pieces, all of which are painted oil and pastel on wood, (which is itself found and scrap wood assembled together). I decided against the conventional use of canvas, as wood would be better to help represent the struggle the refugees face out at sea, and at the various hosting countries. It was also an idea I had for my ceramics, that the material and making process would have a relationship to the subject itself, and to use scrap wood, like a raft, would help ground and tie those links.
I decided against the ceramics, as I found my attention was being straddled between two different ideas that didn’t fit together. If I had remained very conceptual, focussing on the materials, as opposed to the Romantic idea, I believe then it would have been appropriate. However since then, I found I naturally grew to the image of a mother ‘vessel’ figure, or even the simplest figurative representation in order to help bolden the Romantic thoughts and feelings I wanted to promote.
The Romantic vision I had for my FMP, was based in research I had made into the Symbolist movement, as well as the topical hostility I felt the media was relentlessly developing towards every political issue that may ebb danger. From various news articles, what was clear was how we needed a positive outlook in times of such negativity, and thus this utopian idea of a mother figure welcoming in children into her arms for safety, and comfort etc. was the very message I wanted.
Yet, the more and more I identified with this concept, I felt how I was distancing myself from doing justice towards the subjects of my work, in this case, the refugees. Hence why, it made sense to revisit those news articles and to look for my visual source there, instead of fictitiously representing what I felt was needed. I found a way to use paint to address both the need for the Romantic language, but the honesty and the truth to be also present in the image.
I hope that my works have carried these messages across. I hope that they are bold in colour and powerful in feeling, and that they shouldn’t be defined as either figurative or abstract in order to remove any kind of normalisation a category could have. I am aware of art’s position in protest, and I remove myself from identifying with any particular movement as I do not want the art’s impact to be affected by the artist behind it. I would instead like to leave it to the viewer to decide for themselves. I will use the title’s to suggest the context, but I do not wish to feed thoughts and feelings any farther at that.
We need Family Values to respond to the Refugee Crisis.