Oil On Canvas
52cm X 76cm
SIGNED PRINTS AVAILABLE
"I met Jakir in Porar Char in May of 2022. Porar Char is an island in northern Bangladesh and like all the other islands in this area it suffers from the ever increasing problem of flooding due to climate change and also due to its extreme remoteness it is effectively excluded from access to the mainstream economy and the support mechanisms available from the state. I was taken to this island by the social purpose organisation Friendship who were working together with the local community to add protection against the flooding as well as providing health care and education.
Friendship had worked together with the community to build a raised village on the island which would be above the flood levels and offer well needed safety and assurance to the local population. I felt this feeling of relief and hope as I entered the village and I wanted to talk to the people and feel their raw emotions and I thought that the best way to do this was to ask a child to draw a picture of how they viewed their life now. Jakir volunteered to do this and mesmerised the whole village as he sat in silence drawing his masterpiece.
As I left Porar Char I started to think how I could show this hope and relief in a painting. I thought of Jakir staring at me with his eyes wide open and smiling as he held aloft his drawing so of course I needed to paint this image. I then thought of the background, what should I add? The answer was simple, the background was also the foreground it was Jakir’s image of his house, his hope, his relief as this feeling was everywhere. I then asked myself if I should add colour to the background and then I thought of Friendship. Friendship aims to develop scalable solutions to strengthen marginalised communities, and empower people to transform their lives and reach their full potential. It is this “empowerment” and togetherness that hit me. It was like saying to Jakir “Here is the pen and paper, you draw your future and we will help you colour it in.”"
Words by the artist, James Earley.