Blackout 14th – 24th August


“I used to hear my parents talking about how, during the Second World War, it was so difficult to completely “blackout” the windows when the air raid sirens went off.  Somehow little chinks of light and colour always appeared around and through the black window blinds, they said.

Many years later my mother told me how it annoyed her that as she aged she seemed unable to remember everything as clearly as before.  For example, she could remember visits to the theatre, but only colour, shapes and movement – nothing specific about performances.  Theatre visits in her memory were “black”, she said, with specks and patches of colour.  Likewise, all the information she was required to learn at school now presented itself in her memory as a black board covered in scarcely visible black objects with only one or two clearly defined in colour.

Quite contrary to that she could easily remember eating herrings at the seaside and the white herring bones that remained.

My inspiration for Blackout began with these images and I have been inspired by them to create objects and pictures from my own forgetfulness.  I think we had a wild bird nesting box in the garden but I don’t remember anything more about it except that I never saw a bird inside. The box has been blacked out in my memory.  I saw the cat looking into it once and presumed he had taken the bird.  I clearly remember the cat’s sharp white claws.”

Jane Graham