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The Twilight Kingdom
5th May 2017
twlight

By Steph Goodger.

The Twilight Kingdom is series of seven paintings, all oil paint on canvas, made by me in 2017. The series was inspired by the last few weeks in the life of the refugee and migrant camp at Calais, the Jungle.

Signed, limited edition, archival quality, giclée (digital) prints of the seven paintings, are available in a range of sizes. Printed by Alinea33, Bordeaux, France, the archival inks used are made from natural pigments, and printed onto 100 % cotton paper.

All proceeds from the sale of the prints go to the charity Help4Refugee Children.

Help4Refugee Children has been set up to bring aid, food and run workshops with Refugee children, as well as raising political awareness. A small grass roots humanitarian organisation, it was created after several visits to Dunkirk and the Calais Refugee Camp, to deliver humanitarian aid and large scale food distributions for refugees in the camp.

Since November 2015, they have been building engagement with refugees, focusing on families, young children and unaccompanied minors, by running various creative arts workshops. The benefits of these workshops are: teaching basic English ; fun and engaging team building ; helping children to develop confidence, trust and maintain hope during this difficult situation ; reducing stress and improving mental health, through engagement in creative, fun and therapeutic activities.

To see all the images and receive further information on print sizes and prices, please go to: http://www.sysongallery.com/archive/

Alternatively, contact me (Steph Goodger) directly via the Facebook page @thetwilightkingdom

Looking through the many photographs taken of the last few weeks of the Jungle, Calais, this minute to minute reportage in the media and on social media gave me the idea for the paintings and the fundraising simultaneously. It seemed like a natural process of give and take, if I appropriated the Jungle’s story and use its images. Help4Refugee Children is a small charity which is dealing courageously with the aftermath of the destruction of the camp, and more recently, the fire that wiped out the Dunkirk camp too.

The title of the series, The Twilight Kingdom, is taken from the TS Eliot poem, The Hollow Man. Eliot describes it as a kind of limbo place ; as twilight is a kind of limbo time. His twilight kingdom is the realm of the hollow men, referring to the men of the lost generation, the disillusioned survivors of World War I. I feel a connection between Eliot’s poem and the limbo world of fragile, makeshift shelters of the Jungle. These frail looking dwellings, spontaneously constructed out of whatever could be found, have a particular poignancy, especially the images of the floods, precursor to the fires. One scene shows the ground flooded and lettuces floating in the muddy water, like Monet’s waterlilies. This seems to somehow sum up the tragic realities of the camp.

These images also evoked for me, the sinister side of fairy tales, where the seemingly safe and innocuous transforms suddenly into a threat ; such as Hansel and Gretel, and the wicked witch’s cottage made of sweets and cakes; the Three Little Pigs having their houses blown down ; and Little Red Riding hood. Such tales of frail dwellings and hungry wolves at the door, feed into universal childhood fears of what might be lurking in the long evening shadows. This seemed to resonate with conditions in the camp. The Twilight Kingdom represents a place of lost innocence, where illusions of safety are destroyed.

The fire scenes created an apocalyptic vision. The blue plastic sheeting which was used everywhere around the camp, created a kind of leitmotif. Yet, the colourful painting on the sides of buildings and tents, such as the Jungle Book’s library and Baloo’s Youth Centre, gave a sense of defiant hope and dignity. There were images of doves, the word peace written everywhere, and another I had to look up, talash, meaning to search or to seek. The inhabitants of the camp were not merely surviving. There’s an evident need to create, a desire to learn and to transmit knowledge, to seek and to search.

Help4Refugee Children facilitate creative activities and workshops for child refugees. They also provide a crucial life line and sense of security for those in most danger. Without their help and that of other, similar organisations, this would already be our lost generation.

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