When I started on this project I had thought to begin in the land of my forefathers, with a look at recent social history, and create a visual record of the locality. Then after a month I would move on, again seeking common themes and constructing my narrative.
When I began to look into the wealth of social and economic history of this area I realised what a preposterous notion that was. It was the artistic equivalent of backpacking through Asia on a gap year; the work of a visual tourist.
Certainly this approach has appeal for some, and a seductive momentum of its own. Many creative projects have been arbitrarily curated in this time-limited fashion ‘a painting a day’, ‘around the world in 80 paintings’, ‘a month in madrid’. Yet that isn’t my purpose. I want to get to know the character of my home country, its geology and geography, its biology and ecology, the sites and the society.
I firmly believe that as an outsider, generalised statements about communities lacks credibility. An artist offers you their own perspective on the world, and that comes with the bias of a different upbringing, history and heritage. The integrity of the work comes from acknowledging that unique subjective observation of the environment in which you work. So my focus has shifted to be what engages me about this country, not what I expected to find.