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Shadow Figures

I began this series of paintings when I reached a certain age where the clothes I adored and which had previously witnessed all the dramatic moments of my life with me, were no longer appropriate.

I was painting an homage to the dresses that had carried me into my stories.  As the paintings evolved, two of the dresses became personalities and took off into a world of their own. They began to cross paths with other empty clothes, paths that led them into other stories and other lives;  they became the observers of daily life, of history, of 'the other'. The conviction deepened.

The Expulsion  by Ilona Suschitzky 2
Graphite on Paper with muslin
132x148cms
Impatiently
Oil on canvas with feathers and thread
104x85 cms
Waiting
Oil on Canvas with feathers and thread
104x85cms
6  THE STORY
Oil and silver lustre on Canvas
200x175cms
LOOSE ENDS 1 AND 2
Graphite on Paper with Feathers and Thread
Transfusion
Oil on Canvas with Graphite on paper with red metallic thread
200x175cms
The Miller's Tale
Oil on Canvas with Graphite on Paper, Plastic Infusion bags and Red Mettalic thread
230x200cms
Detail from The Miller's Tale
Mixed Media
Detail from The Miller's Tale
Mixed Media
Where do we come? Where do we go?
Oil, Charcoal,Graphite, soft pastels and fabric on Paper
135x100cms
The Dance
Graphite and charcoal on paper
132x148cms
"Go, go", said the bird
Soft pastels and charcoal on Paper
132x148cms
The Blind Leading the Blind
Soft pastels and Charcoal on Paper
132x148cms
Dancing on the edge of Time
Soft Pastels and charcoal on Paper
132x148cms
The Traveller
Soft Pastels and Charcoal on Paper
132x148cms
Passport?
Soft Pastels and charcoal on Paper
132x148cms
The Misery of War
Soft Pastels and charcoal on Paper
132c148cms
More images

The silent recognition of people around you making judgements on the meeting of a face.  Remove the face and what you have is a timeless, race-less, religion free human being who is just like yourself.  Little information is needed to indicate  the integrity of a human being.  A gesture, the sweep of drapery, the shimmer of a movement, of colour, the drama explored in the composition.  You don't need a face to relate to a real person.  They are easily recognisable by the suit or dress in front of you.  What is more, you recognise the drama of their relationships with each other and more so because they are devoid of the political or racial identification that the face and skin can signify.

For me these empty clothes throw up questions not only about my own history, but about the eternal terrors that people fleeing oppressive or fanatical governments are faced with.  As much as societies are aware of how counter productive and instinctively blind their violent reactions towards 'the other' are, ascribing humanity to 'the other' is profoundly complex and difficult.

These works are meant to interrupt the culturally inbuilt politicisation of 'the other'.  The characters could very well be people we know; they could be ourselves.  The story is universal both in time and place.  It is an exploration of the cultural limitations that control responses in the face of 'the other' and more particularly, it refers to the violent reactions towards the crisis that beset our world today.