"We have time to think, we have time to observe and we have time to reflect. The world, our surroundings, work and family responsibilities, no longer clamour constantly for our undivided attention. We tell them to wait and they obey, how amazing! When was the last time I experienced such freedom for my mind to wander? Hmmm, maybe in the early 1960s, some years before the people of planet Earth sent astronauts to the moon, long before the mass protests of 1968, over fifty years ago. At the time, I thought that was how the world would behave forever.
In each one of the works contributed to this eleventh issue of O Sole Mio by the artists Nathaniel Rackowe, Canan Tolon, Adrian Esparza and Marco Castillo, the vision or remnant of another world is vividly present. Whether the world within belongs to childhood memories, or a time past now envisioned as a remembrance of lapsed time, it is probably a time encapsulated and stored somewhere deep within us that may affect us throughout our life. I therefore offer these artists my grateful thanks for their thoughts, for having recognised in themselves the vision of a world beyond and for having shared it with us. The sensitivity and heightened feelings in each of these works has enriched me, but above all has revived my own thoughts of the past and the ensuing possibilities, something which I have probably neglected more than I should have, mainly due to an overloaded schedule in recent years.
In Kitchen Window, Nathaniel Rackowe offers his childhood recollection of a carefree summer evening, lying in the garden of his family home, watching the sun?s reflection in the kitchen window. The very particular light expressed in his painting seems to have been something which has remained with him to this day. Not only has such light affected his personal vision of happiness and perfection, but it has continued to inspire and encourage the direction of his work.
Reading Rackowe?s explanation of his painting reminded me of my own earliest childhood memories, which I have carried like a treasure all my life and which have perhaps unconsciously influenced my decision to tackle the digital O Sole Mio exhibition as a way of exploring them during the stresses of the pandemic when we may all at times have felt trapped in the dark. My memory is of myself as an infant on a boat with my parents and siblings somewhere in the southern part of Iran. I clearly remember it was a warm day with afternoon-like sun in which we were all comfortably basking. This vision of sunshine has remained with me ever since and has surely kept my confidence high all through life.
From private and personal childhood memories in the work of Rackowe and Tolon to the more collective concerns in the works of Esparza and Castillo, the works of these artists have been enlightened by their memories of the past, which eventually shed light on how to understand the realities of today. Whichever direction they go in, it seems early experiences are critical to our present existence and vital to our understanding of where we stand today and possibly where we are heading for."
Founder, Artistic and Executive Director