A painting of two little girls

If I ever have children, I want boys. I’m grossly simplifying here but boys seem like such simple creatures. They play with cars, make lots of noise and destroy things. End of story.

Girls on the other hand, are so much more sensitive. There’s a whole other world in them that no one has entry too. They seem to absorb all that’s around them and internalize everything. And that’s why this painting by Claerwen James caught my eye. And I love it because it’s opposite to the much cherished idyllic, innocent childhood notion that adults entertain. The girls in her range of paintings are precocious with secret impenetrable internal lives, bored, accusatory and melancholic.  Here’s a Pinterest page with her paintings: https://uk.pinterest.com/cgonza/artist-claerwen-james/ Her paintings also showing in the Flowers Gallery till 3 June.

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This painting is so disturbing. The two girls (most probably sisters) seem like someone’s terrible secret – maybe illegitimate children hidden in the attic or orphaned girls unwelcome in the home of their rich uncle’s family.

The moody, green background seems to be absorbed into the girls’ themselves as if their dirty secret or past that envelops them has somehow seeped into the very existence of their being. They can’t seem to escape what the action of the generation before them and they can’t talk about it. Their lips are pursed shut.

Their only reaction seems to be an iron-clad pact they’ve created among themselves – them vs the world. The effort that probably went in to dress themselves identically is another concerted show of solidarity.

It’s unnecessary though. Even without the clothes, you get a sense that these girls are inextricably linked and will be.


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