Thinking of Refugees

The continuing and increasing number of people having to leave their homelands and seek refuge somewhere else is  very sad. It is in fact impossible to imagine how it feels to have to leave the home, the place, the friends, the life that you have known for a long time if not all of your life. It is hard to imagine how it feels to lack for food and water, to have to keep walking when you feel weak and sick….. oh, just imagining hurts.

Thinking about refugees has inspired some of my art. Last year I made an artist book (loose leafs enclosed in a folio) using etching as a technique. I wanted to show in some way the marks that having to become a refugee must leave and etching provided some very strong marks that did achieve what I wanted. I also made a concertina artist book using the monoprint technique

More recently I have been making small drawings. I am not sure yet what I want to do with them, usually I just want to draw and then find the inspiration in this topic and these people. When I start one of these drawings I use as a reference material from numerous sources, for example, the UNHCR, Medecins san frontiers, Amnesty International, and others. I find an image that inspires me and draw it. I don’t try to copy the image and make a portrait, both for copyright reasons but also because I want to see the image as a representation of so many more people. I just try to capture something and then let the drawing find its own way to a final result. Often the lines in the paper tell me what type of colour to use or mark to make.

The drawings are quite small. I think the size allows an intimacy that is difficult to get at a larger scale.  Initially I didn’t have a plan for these drawings, but I am thinking that I will try to make another artist book with them. We will see. In the meantime below are some of these drawings.