What remains after a visit to the homeland? How to weave these skeins of memory, recent and past, into the work. I am left with a sense of the animation
in the Karoo, our last stop before we were bulleted back via the long road north into Johannesburg, our take off city. Back ın the studıo I am at first reluctant to look out at the Bosphoros, or to be lured back by the strangely complex cargoes of the ever passing ships in their sea of blue. I immerse myself in the Bosphoros where I meet up again with my friend Seta and swim with the women who are now bronzed clean from a summer of sun and swimming – and they welcome me.
What moved my friend one day to take me to her deceased father’s apartment? Untouched since his death, a fisherman and a musician, she invited me to enter her portal of memories. A room lined with long playing classical records, old photographs and paintings. A host of coats still hanging in the wardrobe. Here she visits daily? Weekly? İ have been in several apartments in this city where personal histories pile up, memories and old ornate furniture that finds no traction in the jolly primaries and tasteful greys of IKEA chain stores. So it is something of a banal tragedy when on my customary walk down the hill with its burgeonong fig trees and grape vines there are two old chairs crashed on the road. Old chairs fallen off a truck or tossed carelessly from the adjacent apartment block.
İn Maslak from the roof top a hip and happening contemporary art museum the extent of Istanbul’s cold hearted development thrust petrol blue structures ınto the evening rain; a fantastical city emerges abutting a forest against a hard and ungiving edge. In the studio i have prepared new canvases on which to squeeze some of that electric memory out: it’s a new palette, almost psychedelic, and I am racing to get it down. Roads that open out and away, and back home, here and there.
A few weeks later the skies are darkening but shot through with the embers of summer blaze. İ reach up for figs on the way down the hill to the studio but they are pecked by birds or the last ones out of reach. İn the studio I find the Karoo light has disappeared. And so I work over something – a group of people waiting for the government issue coal, voting bribes some say that arrives every winter in the square below my studio. Can they become a troupe of Karoo wanderers but soon I have painted over them, blacked them out in bruising dark colour. For a moment a ship emerges Christmassy in her cargo, but a disappointing arrival: I have seen her before and so she must go too. İnstead İ recall and find in my sketchbook a tree so stark, standing in the liquıd bright air but cut off like the limbs of a classical sculpture, and I paint it instead.
Crows visit the garden black shapes cut out of the light.
I will paint those too.