Sometimes you don’t know what you are doing or why you are doing it until later….
lift the flap of old blanket and there hidden beneath is the number 39
I was on an Art Course last week and on Wednesday I created this piece – today, as I realised its connections and significance, I added the number 39, painted on with my finger, hidden beneath the piece of old blanket.
Our tutor, Helen Turner, did a demonstration using this red acrylic paint. It is not a colour I usually use, so to push myself out of my comfort zone I used the paint in various experiments.
At the end of the day whilst clearing up I cleaned my brush by wiping it backwards and forwards across a piece of A2 cartridge paper
I wasn’t sure how to use the piece of canvas, so I placed it on the paper whilst clearing up and left it there overnight. It had the look of a blood-soaked piece of cloth.
The next day, I put these three elements together. The weave of the blanket going with the criss-cross of the paint on the paper. The red blanket stitch, chiming with the colour of the paint. (The blanket is one that I had collected to send to Syrian refugees a few years ago – it was so old and threadbare, I had kept it back, wondering if I could use it in some creative way.)
I did not make the connection until today, but that morning at 1am, 39 dead migrants were found in a container in Purfleet, Essex, 50 miles away from where I was staying. The container was being driven by a red and white truck.
The aesthetic we were trying to embrace is Wabi Sabi, an Eastern concept, the migrants, so we have heard, were either from China or Vietnam.
Today I was going through the artwork I had done on my course and suddenly made the connection – I added the number 39.
It is now a piece in memory of those particular 39 migrants and all the other thousands who have died fleeing from war and poverty, searching for a better life.