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Travel & Art

Updated: Jan 15, 2022

How the Past influences the Present?

I never would have thought that a random trip to Gran Canaria, initiated by my desire for randomness and a bit of self-healing, living in a cave with a stranger two years ago would have been the basis of my solo exhibition in the heart of Ireland.

Throughout my life, I have always veered towards strange adventures, so when I saw an advert looking for volunteers in the hills of Gran Canaria with a bio-energist man, I jumped on the bandwagon. My curiosity generally wins out, along with this illusive search for something - I don't even know what that 'something' is anymore.

I will post some stories of my time there if people are interested.

So what has this got to do with art? Well, I brought home a root of a cacti, the ones that grow in abundance in sunnier climates with big paddle shaped leaves. And after a number of years they sprout a delicious dark pink fruit.

I really didn't think it would grow here but it has and is and has even become too big for my mothers greenhouse. The problem with it is that it has got so many thin invisible prickly thorns on every leaf that when one even brushes of it, you could spend a day picking them out of your hands or in my mothers case, her poor head as she came to blows it when she decided to move it outside to reclaim back space in the greenhouse.

Anyway, it became the subject matter for my exhibition titled 'Nostalgia'. Every time I go home and see the cacti outside (which surprisingly seems to be still doing fine) it triggers memories of place; travel, nature and experiences. These memories have been transported into my studio and captured on canvas or paperwork. There is a cacti featuring in many of my new works. But to me it represents something more than the prickly pear itself. I know that I am not finished with it as my subject matter just yet. The cactus itself symbolizes endurance and the flower represents maternal love because it can thrive in harsh conditions like a mothers unconditional love. This realisation has planted my interest even more.

Although I haven't traveled in two plus years, which is a foreign concept for someone who traveled a lot, I still have all the memories and previous writings of past trips that influence my present day work. So, I use them. I revitalise the foreignness, question familiarity, relive moments and reconfigure journeys. Travel, in a weird way, is still very much part of my practice even though I am grounded (happily) on this island of home.

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