mother mary

Mary Mary ( Quite Contrary ) 2007, 38″x 50″

The first artwork made after I came to terms with my background, was this drawing. I had made the centre panel in 2004 in response to the massacre of school children in Chechnya; a grieving mother I saw in the paper became my Madonna.  A few years later I set her in what I think of as a study for an altar piece – a large drawing I made about the children of the Holocaust. 
Mary has come down from her heavenly position where traditionally she holds the baby Jesus aloof from us all, and is instead on the broken earth amongst the children.
The two little cherubs were part of a group in the Ukraine who’d been penned up by branches ( the structure in the back ground.) They had been photographed, apparently just before being shot; all were smiling except for these two. I wanted to honour them somehow and then thought about the Raphael cherubs and so set them at the bottom of the picture in protest.
So many stories from WW2 focus on soldiers and battle; I want my work to reflect the reality and sadness of what happened to women and children, without losing sight of compassion.
This piece is important to me because it was the first time I understood what my art wanted to be.

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