Gillian Kogan, Artist

Memories of a Wartime Childhood in Britain 1939-1945

In recent years I have become aware that having a childhood which occurred entirely within a time when the country was at war has had a great influence on my life. I felt impelled to capture some of the feeling of that time in my art work.

The resulting ten monoprints can be read either chronologically or individually. They attempt to capture, not only some of the most significant events, but also the continuing pattern of a child's life. This pattern was frequently disrupted by the need to evacuate from London at the start of the war, by a disturbing return at the height of the Blitz, and by another flight to the country for three years.

There was the underlying feeling that as a Jewish child I was regarded as 'different' by the relatively insulated communities in the country areas to which we moved. When, late in the war, everyone became aware of the Holocaust, I was appalled to know what had happened to Jewish children in Europe.

I have chosen monoprint with mixed media as a medium as it achieves greater detail than I felt could be achieved in oil paint alone. The prints are made in oil paint on a glass sheet. They are then worked in oil, pastel or even ink. The real impetus of the finished work is driven by the initial print. They are of course true monotypes and stand alone.

It seems to me that at the beginning of the twenty-first century there is a general climate of reassessment of the period of the 1940s and the Second World War. This, as well as a far greater interest in the tradition of the figurative and the narrative in art. My work is in tune with this reappraisal.

Gillian Kogan