Our Children series
I created three large watercolour portraits of my daughter with an unflinching, penetrating gaze (Little Gwen). I had expected the onlooker to be intimidated by the gaze of the child, as if in the presence of some omnipotent judge of humanity, and yet, as one looks, the expression seems to change from stern and suspicious to exposed and vulnerable. I was intrigued and excited that a painting could change its meaning as you looked at it.
Taking these portraits as a starting point, I continued exploring the interaction between the viewer and the child’s gaze with a further series of large painted portraits. They are all developed from photographs of local children in Hastings and the surrounding area. At the time of painting these heads the Syrian refugee crisis was in full flood. I felt these faces stood as witness to the horrors faced by children fleeing from that conflict. They were children, no different to ones fleeing except that they were our children.