Same Difference/the Holy Land (a 21st century travelogue)
These paintings were made after several visits to Israel and Palestine, most recently travelling in 2013 as part of a small mixed group of Leeds Muslims and Jews. The biggest challenge for me in creating this work is the constant tension I feel in the choices I make between form and content on a subject which is so close to my heart. Nothing is simple on this issue. Nuance is everything.
The 'portraits' play with ambiguity, and challenge common assumptions about identity. They reference the dangers of simplistic labels and categorising. They are not 'portraits' in the normal sense, but rather are depictions reflecting my personal thoughts and ideas in response to seeing these subjects within their everyday.
The later works move away from close scrutiny of individuals and look more widely at a landscape familiarised through the classical landscape and travelling tourist sketchbook tradition of the 18th and 19th centuries. But the land and urban scenes depicted in these works can never be “just” landscapes. Superficially ordinary surroundings are background to superficially ordinary daily activities; shopping, playing, walking. The oddly dissonant elements present remind us that these “normal” lives on both sides of the green line are anything but.