Two of the images in my new range of limited edition prints have a special story behind them, which I want to share with you here:
CUSHION ME / SHELTER ME No.1 + No.2
On 25 April, during the First World War, Australian soldiers recaptured a small French village called Villers Bretonneux. The battle became a turning point in the War; it prevented the German army from advancing, + destroyed their last hopes of winning the War. Afterwards, Victorian schoolchildren + the Education Department funded the rebuilding of the devastated village school. For their bravery + generosity, the Villers Bretonneux townsfolk vowed to ‘Never Forget Australia’, + almost a century later, they continue to keep that promise. From the ashes of that short, bloody battle arose a unique, heartfelt international friendship. In 2009, after the devastating bushfires destroyed many Victorian communities, schoolchildren from the rebuilt Villers Bretonneux school raised funds to help rebuild one of the Victorian schools incinerated by the fires. They have never forgotten Australia.
I felt honoured to illustrate a children’s book about this special Franco-Australian friendship (the Promise, released by Scholastic Australia in April 2013), + to be invited to paint an aerosol street art mural reflecting the friendship, opposite the Villers Bretonneux Town Hall, in September 2013.
My mural, titled ‘Cushion me / Shelter me’ comprises two images. Both images symbolize the reciprocal friendship between Australia + France; both images are designed to be ambiguous in meaning – Who is supporting whom? Who is comforting whom? This complexity, for me, reflects the real nature of the true friendship between Australia (the kangaroos) + France (the humans). Neither is stronger, + neither is dominant; both have provided support, friendship + comfort, cushioning + sheltering the other when they have most needed it.
The watercolour paintings, which I have released as limited edition prints (Cushion me / Shelter me No. 1 + No. 2) in two different sizes + edition numbers, are based on the same draft images I used to paint the street art mural in Villers Bretonneux, France, in September 2013.
For details about the new prints, including their edition sizes, dimensions + prices, + to purchase either online or in store, see http://signedandnumbered.com.au/limited/kaff-eine?show=prints