I made a trip to Guernica, famously portrayed by Picasso in 1937 after the bombing by fascist forces during the Spanish Civil war. I was captivated by the town and on the first visit made a number of sketches of figures and trees, whilst sitting under a cafe umbrella in the pouring rain. The following Monday I returned for market day, the day Franco had originally chosen for it to be bombed to cause maximum casualties. It was sunny and I drew people talking in the square and the many pollarded trees, which although replanted, look the same today as they always did; continuity with the past.
The ongoing paintings portray elements of the town as it exists today combined with scenes from photos taken in 1937 after the bombing. The figures are a mixture of contemporary and historical, many of the older men still wear traditional berets giving them an iconic silhouette which makes the past indistinguishable from the present. By mixing past images with contemporary sketches, I’m attempting to collapse time and bring history closer to home. As ever, the paintings are telling stories, in this case a timeless tale of cultural survival and triumph against fascism and oppression.