I have been working on an epic new drawing on the theme of Picasso's iconic painting Guernica from 1937. Picasso's response to the destruction of the Basque town with the first 'biltzkrieg' ariel bombardment of civilian populations. It is being created as part of an exhibition called 'Creative Connections' and is an outreach project by the National Portrait Gallery of London and Southampton City Gallery. They have worked with students from Cantell School in Southampton to look at identity and and how the gallery collections reflect contemporary Southampton.
This 'maritime Guernica' is called 'The Kinship Drawing' and is inspired by Southampton's historical role as a city of sanctuary for refugees and migrants from global events. The particular 'Creative Connection' is the Basque refugees from Guernika ( Basque spelling) that arrived on the SS Habana in 1937. The exhibition 'Creative Connections - Southampton' will be open to the public at Southampton City Gallery from May 26th until Oct 2023. Follow the dedicated Instagram page @the_kinship_drawing for more info and visual diary
This year also marks the 50th Anniversary of Picasso's death with exhibitions around the world showcasing his life's work. This 'conversation with Picasso' also comes at a timely 87th Anniversary of the 'Guernika Children' (aka 'Los Ninos') arriving in Southampton. Many of the Basque families remained in the city and relatives will be attending the exhibition.
Cantell School is in the heart of the city and is officially a school of sanctuary. With over 60 languages spoken it epitomizes the multi cultural and diverse community, something the exhibition of portraits by the students and their own selection of artworks from the national and local collection will help the city re imagine how it is represented through the visual arts.