In Pain, 2017
'Ah! Would there were a place of rest from pain'
– Omar Khayyám, 11th Century Persian poet.
In Pain investigates the expression of mental and emotional pain. Physical pain can often be visible, inciting an empathetic response from people, whereas depression, grief and complex trauma, as deeply personal and internal experiences, can be hidden from view, and subsequently they can be dismissed, belittled, or even ignored. I believe pain is a universal experience that is integral to the human condition. It is not something to be escaped from, but rather something to be accepted and embraced.
In this body of work, I have sought to portray the excruciating pain of the soul and psyche in direct and simple ways – to represent the depth of cognitive and emotional pain through startling and confronting images.
The quatrains of Omar Khayyám have been a great inspiration in the development of this project. In Khayyám’s view, life is to be enjoyed despite the pain and suffering; that agony and loss are inevitable, but there is joy to be found when living in the moment. Also, he asserts that life is a state between drunkenness and consciousness, and in consciousness, there are hidden joys, and in drunkenness and ignorance, the intellect suffers.