Refugees series, 2001

76.2cm X 76.2cm, gifted to Rashmi Choudery

This painting was inspired by the many front page newspaper articles about refugees that I had read and the photos of refugees that I had seen. I wanted to explore the associated feelings. I took an image from different visuals that had remained in my mind’s eye and gathered them all together to make this evocative painting. These refugees might have been from Bangladesh.

The painting tells the story of the emotions of each and every figure in this painting. They are individuals who tell their own story with their eyes, hands, poses, and the things they have with them.

This family had time to pack everything they could but it all had to fit into the boat they are travelling in, towards hope.

The woman in the centre caresses the ear of a goat, looking stunned into nowhere.

The chicken in the basket sees the world go by. It is not worried about the future; it feels safe in the moment and that is more than enough.

Wheels without any attached vehicles float above the heads of the passengers. They are symbols indicating that movement is possible but the complete physical means have to be available to reach the needed destination.

The sticks holding everything together are wobbly anchors that do not hold back anything. They are only there to give the passengers a sense of security!

The colours are subdued and realistic. The background of this painting is blurred, just like memories become blurred with time. The memories left behind fade away into the background.

Refugees Series, child with Bicycle wheel

The bicycle wheel is like a cage or prison for the refugee boy. It is not going anywhere because the body of the bike is not there!

She’s a Leopard Too: Tapestry

My mother, who is a tapestry weaver, really liked this painting. She made a beautiful tapestry based on it that is just the same size as the original. It is included here.