I recently turned to an earlier series, "Wrinkled Bellies" (1984-5), for inspiration. That series comprised wall hangings knitted on circular needles. The hangings were created in wool because the fibre reminds me of the softness and elasticity of skin, and because in our country working in wool has been traditionally the work of women, and above all, of mothers.
As a child, I was disturbed by the lines on my mother’s stomach. Later, as a mother myself, I found similar wrinkles and marks on my own belly and, studying them, began to see them as no longer ugly, but symbolic of motherhood. I see beauty in these lines. Just as there is softness in the breast, so too there is softness in the lines of childbirth.
I have now developed these ideas in a series of drawings and paintings titled "Life-lines", reflecting the marks which connect women globally as evidence of the universal phenomenon of childbirth - an experience which brings not only pain, but also joy and hope for the future.
During the period of isolation enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic - a time of separation from those we love because of an invisible virus - I also began to think of these marks as the lines of communication that connect all of us: the lines of essential supplies delivered by transport and supermarket workers, the health-care and financial life-lines that are supporting our communities.
My work is predominantly a reflection of the struggle and passage through chaos, particularly that experienced by all women. My desire is that one day we will all emerge to a new order of equality, consideration and fairness.
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