This exhibition has given me the opportunity to depict the human tragedy of The Somme through the medium of paint. A battle lasting five months, when so many lives were lost, so many hearts of wives, sweethearts and children broken. The published letters give an insight into the personal drama, the fear and sadness and are a poignant reminder of this terrible conflict in our history. Inspired by such literature, written words form an integral part of each monochrome image.
Both paintings portray a view from the trench. Deafening Silence tells of interminable waiting. “… This waiting is unbearable”, handwritten in red across the top of the image, gives the viewer an insight into the soldier’s mental state. Waiting for the enemy or waiting for death?
In Gas, the skeletal outline of a masked face stares out of the canvas. Has the whistle signalling gas already been given? The grim, inhumane surroundings loom behind and above. Alive but already buried the words “Dug the graves with a heavy heart…”, again in red tell us the soldier’s thoughts.
Oil on Canvass
50 x 50 cm