Its been a while. In between then and now I have traveled back to Tanzania for the Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula project and also to Antigua, Guatemala. Tanzania was as moving as the previous trip – if not more – and very productive. More details about it I will not go into here as it is all on the dedicated site (just click on the link). The three weeks I spent at the end of last year in Antigua were not so much about work, they were more about recuperation (see below). It was equally moving however and I became fascinated by the bloody history of the Mayan culture, the intensity and pain of which is still very present in contemporary society. I am hoping in the near future to put up a couple of the sketches and notes I made there.
So, I am beginning 2016 having crossed Sontag’s boundary between the King of the Well and the Kingdom of the Sick. I traveled into the domain wherein I have been only a detached visitor since I began working as an artist in medicine some years ago. I experienced first hand the sense of disorientation and of the abject. I have however returned the much relieved possessor of only half a thyroid having had the other half removed along with the tumour that had grown on it. Suspected malignancy was thankfully ruled out and I am left now with a scar that is slowly healing, an oft-croaky voice but besides that more healthy than I have been for a long time! The experienced has left me even more determined to continue the work I am doing…I have only scratched the surface of what I believe I can do…I just need to continue.
My work has taken a definite turn towards portraiture, which I like to understand more as a conceptual framework for my work rather than a dictate of genre. Africa has generated much work, which will be exhibited in New York in May this year (details to follow), and I have just launched a new project working back in the field of cancer here in Wales: doctor : patient : doctor Both these projects involve portraiture and for the latter I have been working on some paintings of people close to me as practice. This post carries an example. ‘The builder’ is executed in oil on canvas and is around life size.