Monday, 27 February 2017

Peace Painting - #O

The second Peace Painting is inspired by thoughts that emerged from the Peace Painting workshops at Priory Witham Academy.
Concepts of trees, wish trees combine with images of doves - most people when they think of peace, just paint a dove, but I witnessed an entire murmuration of starlings recently, so the idea of the tree as a dovecote became the basic concept for this work.

The composition takes the form of a snow globe, with the tree as the land and the sea of the world populated by the flock of white peace doves.
On top of the earth sits Bana Alabed, feeding the doves with stardust, as every girl's wish for peace and world peace.

detail - Bana Alabed sits atop the world feeding stardust to peace doves
It's still a work in progress. 

copyright Helen Dearnley Fine Art 2017

Monday, 20 February 2017

Peace Painting - #SaveAleppo

During the workshops at Priory Witham Academy back in December, I became interested in Bana Alabed, and her tweets from besieged Aleppo, and at that time, she was tweeting that Aleppo was being bombed, her house had been bombed, and they were seeking refuge.
So I wanted to paint Bana; here, I have looked at images from her twitter feed, I particularly liked the image of her making a heart with her hands, and looking happy after she was escorted to safety, and is safe in Turkey with her mother. 

Behind her happy self, is the tweet from the time of the bombings, where she's covered in dust, looks tired and weary, and tweets that she has seen death.
I included a printout of another tweet with an image of her house bombed to rubble, where she'd recently received a copy of Harry Potter to read from J.K. Rowling.
The tweet is linked from a website that seems to think Bana's twitter is a fake account and is child exploitation.
I have another image of a faked injured child that is a very interesting image to consider working with.

The image cropped out her feet, so although I imagine she is probably wearing trainers and socks, I have painted her with bare feet. 
Her shoes will be at the bottom, along with some susuwatari, later on.

The images of Aleppo in ruins from which Bana appears to rise out of, like a child from an M83 video, or a character from Stranger Things, are a composite image. The upturned tank has been painted into another scene, and the rubble will become populated by susuwatari, which can only be seen by children, and the dome from a mosque or other building will become a dovecote.

With Instagram filter
In my research, I've been thinking a lot about the painting that Archie conceived of - with words of peace in a tree, and I thought he could make the words into leaves, but I've since realised that he wanted them to go on the trunk, like when lovers carve names into tree trunks.
I went to the park, and couldn't find a single tree with a carving in the trunk, but I did have some old birch bark in my studio that I'd collected, so I made a peace heart.

Concepts are forming about how I can equate Peace Painting with my own practice and my own research. 
I've been sketching flocks of doves, so these will become another work.

On Valentines Day, this murmuration of starlings flew over my house, so a flock of white doves is a concept for another peace painting.

In the courtyard gallery, I spoke to Christopher Wiles about a similar project he's doing.

Art & Design Conference 2017

It's a new year, so I hope everyone has been celebrating the emerging peace in Aleppo, and hoping for a resolution of conflict in Syria, which isn't helped by terrorist attacks in Turkey.

Details of my trip to Norway are on the Peace Painting website here.

This month, I was invited to the Art & Design Conference, which I initially thought would be a paid talk about Peace Painting at The Collection Museum and Art Gallery.

The week of the event, this became a workshop - for teachers attending. I'm used to running workshops for children, so this was going to be a new challenge.

This was good for teachers to learn what children experience and gain from Peace Painting workshops, and it's interesting to see how they all responded differently to the theme, but with only an hour, there wasn't much time to really explore ideas about peace in any greater detail.

It was a fun event, with an informative talk by Lesley Butterworth of NSEAD, and lunch of course provided :-)