Sid and Becky
From Lester Hall’s new studio, Goblin Inks.
Signed Print by Lester Hall
A3 Unframed Print.
The journey through taking a little old 1940s photo of my mum and dad to a celebration and recognition of them has been a year long affair. It was waiting in the wings for three decades but as I leaned, in earnest to the actual creating of it, it has required many updates of composition and delivery and a lot of enquiry into my life and theirs. I am thankful for what the journey of recognition has brought to my conscious and unconscious self. This work is not here to create income, it is here to suggest to all that we are losing our heritage to perhaps overly aspirational lives lived into a future with no regard to our past.
I was prompted into this determination after discussing a “heritage artwork” with a client who wanted to celebrate his great great great grandad’s life which was far more high flying than Sid and Beck’s I’d have to say and was aimed at 3,000 descendants of the man and the idea was an artwork created and 80 odd prints for familial inheritance. The conversation made me think of all of those lives spent building the spaces and places we now inhabit and as I applied my life experience and effort to my folks I realised that they navigated some heavy weather in those early and mid twentieth century turmoils while creating a future for others to live into. As I formulated the structure of the image my mum and dad revisited me in so many ways and as an older and less self absorbed person I found myself very thankful to them but also far more admiring of the stoic journey they both walked. In my family we have made little effort to remember even where my mother and father are from and I know that this image has only just started to inform me of my background. I will take it to Otago, where Sid spent those poverty stricken days as a child, in full time work at the age of twelve and put it on a wall and wait to find out what it brings me while I experience the skies and seasons that might bring me a little closer to him again.They were different days and what this artwork has taught me is that there are tens of thousands of lives out there that are being forgotten more every moment when perhaps, there are lessons to be learnt in looking back. There are many ways of commissioning artworks, books or any form of remembrance that bring us a deeper feeling of connection to something bigger than ourselves and that is what this little page stands to - REMEMBER. As you look at the work you will see many motifs that speak of Sid and Becky’s experiences such as the cross stitches on the seam of mum’s skirt representing their six children, the street number of 73 where I was a child, dad’s handlebars folded down over the tank for those hard rides, mom’s blouse of rose patterns in blue and white representing her love of roses and the Virgin Mary. Dad’s army service, his childhood in Otago, Mom’s Irish with the green bow, Dad’s poverty as a child and Scottish heritage with the patch to his “strides”. The background field is a mixture of cultural heritage with herring bone tweed and William Morris patternation and cross stitched into that field are moments that speak to birthplaces, folk law and identity and at their feet the town that was home to them and their children.
I created Sid and Becky from a need to understand more of who I am and not to make a coin and I am not sure what awaits the artwork as I determine how it will sit in the public space but I know I would like some of this image to be long lasting and operating as a reminder for all of the forgotten souls who walked us to where we are today. Sid and Becky on walls, remembered not as their specific identities but representing tens of thousands of largely forgotten souls and lives seems fitting but I’ll sit on it and think. I am open to the idea of taking commissions for such works but the aim of this page and this artwork outside of myself is to enliven the idea that perhaps there is great comfort and insight in taking time to properly remember the path that brought us here to this day, now.
* The framed insitu image is an example of how the print can be framed. This image is not to scale.