The Motherland

Oil Paintings

Watercolours

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We comfort ourselves by reliving memories of protection. Something closed must retain our memories, while leaving them their original value as images.”  Gaston Bachelard , The Poetics of Space

The Motherland series concerns the images of my childhood and the history of the Kent countryside. All along the banks of the River Medway at short intervals, small, red brick pillbox bunkers, are positioned. These fortifications, a legacy of WW2, were placed all along the rivers from the coast up to London, turning the Capital effectively into a moated castle.

Now these pillboxes nestle quietly in the landscape. They form part of my childhood landscape.  A couple of years ago I discovered one poised right on the edge of an eroded part of the riverbank. From the field side, it looked like a peaceful little bungalow, crouching in a hollow, at the river’s edge.

I began to take photographs and continued over every visit to Kent for the next year or so. This was the starting point of the Motherland series, where the sanctuary of our childhood images, the strength of our roots in the very place we grew up, the inherent history of the landscape and the safety of the bunker, form a kind of amalgamation in the paintings.