Stuart Pearce

As We Grieved, We Grew. / AKA Week 44. Day 5.

Jackson's Painting Prize 2021
51 x 51 cm

“This is a new self-portrait, painted during lockdown at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, referencing some of the headlines which were dominating the world’s press during the period.

The title is taken from a line in Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb,” a poem she performed at Joe Bidens’ inauguration.

At the end of 2020 as one of the most challenging years drew to a close, I planned to create a new self-portrait for exhibition. As an artist, I found it impossible not to respond directly to the contemporary themes and tragedies that have blighted my life and the lives of millions over the past 12 months. There are so many more headlines, unreferenced, but implied; climate change, (incongruous scarf) the lives lost, the ongoing mass extinction of species across the world and the senseless injustice of the racial divide (the paper figures) and so on.

I took Amanda’s line in ‘The Hill We Climb’ as a title because this particular line; ‘As we grieved, we grew’ echoes the poem’s – and the painting’s main theme; one of hope, of learning and repairing.”