A Fairytale of Gdansk, Personal Statement for the John Moores Painting Prize

My mind meanders to a scene from my childhood home of a humble landscape painting made by my mother shortly after she fled Poland around the time of the Warsaw uprising.

I remember observing the painting like a love letter to her past. Etched into the landscape was a world of folklore, tradition and a longing to return to land then controlled by Communist rule.

The composition of floating boats, trees and crescent moons still resonate in my subconscious as does the collection of family artefacts and brightly coloured Wycinanki paper cut-outs that hung on the surrounding walls.

When I consider this I become aware that embedded deep into my psyche is not only a synthesis of western painting styles but also a continuation of a rich cultural tradition that animates this fairytale of abstract thought.