Screen grab of my Instagram account.
Sometimes we need to look back. Sometimes we need a little bit of encouragement to take the time for reflection. An art practice is (I find) so often about looking forward, and about creating the next thing. How often do we get the excuse to review a body of work as a whole?
I’m always collecting, and that includes my work. In some senses I’m a hoarder. I’ve probably seen too many wonderful retrospectives! On the edge of consciousness I envisage exhibiting room after room of responses to the suppressed memory of the Spanish Civil War and Spanish exile. A dream, perhaps, but quite tangible nonetheless.
An invitation to present my work at the recent Instituto Cervantes (IC London) celebration of the Spanish exile to the UK has proved inspiring, and something of a catalyst.
When IC London Director Ignacio Peyró requested a CV of works relating to the Spanish exile I didn’t expect to present him with 8 pages. It’s an exercise I recommend. To my astonishment and delight I found myself delving into a store cupboard groaning with goods I’d prepared earlier. In 2013 I’d consciously set out to create a body of work about this history, but the years seem to have cantered by and suddenly there it is.
A fascinating day at Birkbeck School of Art in beautiful Bloomsbury has kicked off a process, a joyful one for me, albeit tinged with the acute poignancy of this history. I’m sharing the fruits of 6 years of works primarily on Instagram but also on Twitter. I understood, anew (as I always do when sharing my work with those who share the history and work on it too) the imperative nature of this work, as testament, tribute and commemoration. I’m deeply grateful to these colleagues, my brothers and sisters in many senses. They orientate me and set my compass.
I hope for many more years of making as my subject is vast, and my brain is constantly churning with ideas. I have so much more to give. For now I’ll bask in the poignant pleasure of sharing a body of work in this 80th anniversary year and reaching the audiences whose encouragement is so vital to keeping the creative flame alive.
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