‘Russian Doll’ – Remembering Female Victims of War

'The Russian Doll', red, black, blue and green Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘The Russian Doll’, red, black, blue and green Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

Adopting the iconic image of the Russian doll, this drawing was made as a memorial to women and young girls  who were/are the victims of violence during war.  A Russian Doll painted with the tranquil scene of Ivan Shishkin’s ‘Morning in a Pine Forest’, 1889, one of Russia’s most popular paintings, is layered with the image of Russian soldiers fighting in the Battle of Stalingrad during WWII.  Now a well documented fact, graphically conveyed in such writings as Anthony Beevor’s ‘Berlin: The Downfall 1945’ 2002, this piece represents the genocidal rape perpetrated by the Red Army as it surged towards Berlin.  The novelist Vasily Grossman, a front line war correspondent with the Red Army, dismayed at the mass rape committed by so many Russian soldiers on not only German women but liberated Polish and Russian women wrote,

“Horror in the eyes of women and girls” (‘A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945’).

The consequences of such violations often resulted/result in suicide, unwanted pregnancies and lifelong psychological and physical scars. By layering a self-portrait as part of the Russian Doll’s face, thus bridging awareness between statics and reality, this representation suggests that during war violence is indiscriminate and targets females of all ages and backgrounds.  Often a strategic weapon of war that has been used in conflicts since records began, it is still common today, recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo and with many incidents of rape being reported in the current conflict in Iraq.   At the very edge of the drawing appear the legs of a young girl, a reminder of the very young victims of war rape.

For further images from this series please visit my website.

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‘The Sideboard II’ – Remembering Children Affected by War

'The Sideboard II', 2009, red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCrackenThis triptych portrays memories of a small child at play in a sideboard, within the safety of ‘home’, before the onset of war. It was inspired by the girl in the red coat from the film ‘Schindler’s List’, 1993, Steven Spielberg, as she wanders through the Kraków Ghetto while it is being ‘cleared’’. The Artist uses her niece to model for this piece to highlight the indiscriminate nature of war and how it can affect ‘anyone’ and to provoke understanding of loss by seeing victims as individuals and not statistics.

‘The Sideboard II’,  red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

This triptych of Biro drawings portrays memories of a small child at play with a sideboard, within the safety of ‘home’, before the onset of war – perhaps a cottage in a small village in Eastern Europe.

It was inspired by the ‘girl in the red coat’ from the film ‘Schindler’s List’, 1993, Steven Spielberg, as she wanders through the Kraków Ghetto while it is being ‘cleared’ by German soldiers in 1943.

'The Sideboard I, II & III', black and red Biro drawings by Jane Lee McCracken

‘The Sideboard I, II & III’, black and red Biro drawings by Jane Lee McCracken

With my sister’s permission I used photos I had taken of my niece at play in the family kitchen as reference for the drawings.   These pieces highlight the indiscriminate nature of war and how it can affect ‘anyone’ and attempt to convey understanding of loss by seeing victims as individuals and not statistics.

For further images from this series please visit my website.

‘The Cupboard’ – Remembering Civilians Caught up in War

 

'The Cupboard', original black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘The Cupboard’, original black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

This simple drawing represents the memory of civilians caught up or lost during war.

During a stay in a cottage in Transylvania, Romania, whilst on a trip bear tracking this painted corner cupboard evoked to me the quiet beauty of how we go about embellishing the space we call home and the private and expressive meanings behind everything we display in that space.

For those caught up in war, losing perhaps what is perceived by others to be just a simple jug, but to the owner of the possession is perhaps a priceless gift given by a beloved grandmother, adds yet more painful loss to the devastation experienced.  Every object in our home tells a story and leaves behind a footprint of our existence.

For further pieces in this series please visit my website

 

 

New Work – Meet ‘Girl and Dog’

'Dog', Royal Ashmore Puppy Figurine with original red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Dog’, Royal Ashmore Boxer Dog Puppy Figurine with original red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

New work is on its way!  Prototypes ‘Girl and Dog’,  two of seven figurines, ‘The Dreamers’, with original Biro drawings on china forms part of a wider project about life and death in the animal world, both naturally and at the hands of man.

'Dog', detail of red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Dog’, detail of red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Dog’ – A playful puppy looks towards its owner as it dreams and fears the dog meat trade – red Biro drawings of dog skulls form a pattern reminiscent of Chinese folk art or fabric patterns.  In the centre of the skull pattern are the eyes of a rescued caged dog being pedalled in the Chinese dog meat trade.   Originally domesticated from wolves, it is thought that dogs have been domesticated longest in East Asia.

'Dog', Royal Ashmore Boxer Dog Puppy figurine with original red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Dog’, Royal Ashmore Boxer Dog Puppy figurine with original red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

Dogs have been eaten in China and other countries across the world for thousands of years.  Dog meat is still consumed in China, Vietnam, Korea and Switzerland.  These pieces question if there is a difference between eating dogs as opposed to other species consumption?  They also highlight the inhumane conditions dogs are kept in before slaughter and methods of slaughter.   A change in attitudes in dog consuming countries  has seen the rise of Animal Welfare groups, particularly in China, campaigning against the consumption of dogs as they are increasingly viewed as pets, guide-dogs and rescue dogs.  It is estimated that 25 million dogs are slaughtered each year for human consumption across the world.

'Girl', unmarked porcelain figurine made in Taiwan with original black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Girl’, unmarked porcelain figurine made in Taiwan with original black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Girl’ –  a girl dreams of her pet dog being snatched by dog peddlers.  She sees ‘mug shots’ of missing dogs on posters and worries that her dog will suffer the same fate.  Eyes of caged dogs sold for slaughter haunt her dreams – black Biro drawings of caged dogs sold for the dog meat trade in China, some of which were rescued by Chinese Animal Welfare groups.  The eyes of the dogs form a pattern on the girl’s clothing.

'Girl' base of figurine with original black Biro drawings by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Girl’ base of figurine with original black Biro drawings by Jane Lee McCracken

The base of the figurine is utilised as bars of a cage where dogs peer through the cage bars; or window panes where ‘mug shots’ of missing dog posters are pasted.  Taiwan banned the sale of dog meat in 2001 and whilst the practice still continues illegally, the leaving of the ‘Made in Taiwan’ label notes the ban that was introduced by the Taiwanese government.  Laid on its side, the folds of the figurine’s clothing resemble a landscape of Chinese mountains where the sets of haunting dogs’ eyes climb the food chain to their wolf origins (sets of wolf eyes are drawn at the top of the gown and in the centre).  The mountains also represent ‘tradition’ being ‘as old as the hills’ and if challenged the enormity of breaking tradition.  For people of many societies throughout the world the consumption of dog meat is banned, for many other dog meat consuming nations it is part of tradition.  However I believe the question must be asked – consuming an animal whom humans use to enhance our lives emotionally, are used to aid disabled people and ultimately used to fight aside us on the front line of life and death situations whilst not having the capacity to understand what is being asked of them – is this a fitting reciprocation for the duties they undertake willingly for us?

'Girl' detail with black Biro drawings by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Girl’ detail with black Biro drawings by Jane Lee McCracken

Inspired by Goya’s Los Caprichos, ‘The Dreamers’ represent the innocent physicality of sleep whilst the torrid kaleidoscope of dreams cascades through the brain.   ‘The Dreamers’ also represents the quiet moments of peace and daydreams before the inevitability of life’s realities steals ‘innocence’.  Dreams play out like films in our minds, abstract fragments of the brain’s data input of information and our fears and hopes.  Much of my work is based on the subject matter of loss through war and disaster or environmental destruction, represented in layered Biro drawings using stills from films often creating an abstracted phantasmagoria of images and thoughts.  Films transport and capture our minds just like dreams do; they face our fears, portray our hopes and can be therapeutic tools in our waking hours as dreams are deemed brain therapy in our sleep.

I made a random collection of figurines from local charity shops, so that my philosophy of simply using what is close at hand, such as a Biro for drawings was upheld with the choice of figurines available on each day.  Damaged and repaired figurines were still selected to retain the memory of the figurine’s previous life and owner.  Each figurine was then painted white, purifying them from the original manufacturers painted design and stripping each figurine back to the foundations of its physical representation thus creating a blank canvas.  This brings a sense of life to each figurine without the distraction of painted design before the original black Biro drawings are drawn onto the painted surface as well as white representing the purity of ‘a being’ at sleep.  An incredibly hard surface to draw on, these pieces were challenging and remain precious for the intimacy shared with each piece by holding them in my hands as I drew on them.

Further images will be released as this project continues.  

For anyone interested in more information about the dog meat trade please visit Humane Society International

 

 

 

‘BUTTERFLY LOVER’ Luxury Large Format Prints for SAVE WILD TIGERS

 

'Butterfly Lover', Luxury large format Archival Pigment Print of original Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Butterfly Lover’, Luxury large format Archival Pigment Print of original Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken, 2014

20 LUXURY LARGE FORMAT Archival Pigment Prints on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm of ‘Butterfly Lover’ are now AVAILABLE in aid of  SAVE WILD TIGERS.

Beautifully crafted to order by one of the finest master printmakers in the UK, Jack Lowe, these 50cm x 50cm limited edition, signed and numbered prints are reproduced from my original black and neon orange Biro drawing.

With less than 3500 tigers left in the wild, ALL profits of each print sale will be donated to SAVE WILD TIGERS helping to raise funds for their vital work, saving tigers in the wild.

Prints retail at £225 including P&P.

For enquiries & print orders please visit my online SHOP.

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‘Butterfly Lover’ is part of my triptych ‘THE LEGEND OF THE LAST SOUTH CHINA TIGER’ which was written and drawn especially for SAVE WILD TIGERS ‘Thrive’ Exhibition, curated by Lauren Baker, 14th – 18th May 2014, Sanderson Hotel, London and Tiger Dinner Auction at the Mango Tree 20th May, 2014.   For further information about SAVE WILD TIGERS please visit their website.

South China Tiger Legend for Save Wild Tigers

 

NEW WORK Coming Soon – Meet ‘Chernobyl Cat’

'Chernobyl Cat', biro on china figurine, 2013 by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Chernobyl Cat’, Biro on china figurine, 2013 by Jane Lee McCracken

New work is on its way!  Made late last year prototype ‘Chernobyl Cat’,  one of seven figurines, ‘The Dreamers’, original Biro drawings on china forms part of a wider project about life and death in the animal world, both naturally and at the hands of man.

A feral cat at play in an abandoned house within the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl reactor dreams of birth mutations due to radiation.  The black biro drawing is made of layers from still images of ‘Chernobyl: Life in the Dead Zone’, Discovery Channel, 2007.  Nature in the exclusion zone of Chernobyl seems to be thriving with human interference now removed but scientist are polarised as to the fate of animals living in this area and their long-term survival from the catastrophic levels of radiation that still exist.  This is represented by a pattern of mutated cats and dolls as well as the cat’s natural predators, wolves and foxes – the conglomerated pattern suggests folk art patterns of Russia.

'Chernobyl Cat',Biro drawing on china, 2013 by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Chernobyl Cat’, Biro drawing on china, 2013 by Jane Lee McCracken

Inspired by Goya’s Los Caprichos, ‘The Dreamers’ represent the innocent physicality of sleep whilst the torrid kaleidoscope of dreams cascades through the brain.   ‘The Dreamers’ also represents the quiet moments of peace and daydreams before the inevitability of life’s realities steals ‘innocence’.  Dreams play out like films in our minds, abstract fragments of the brain’s data input of information and our fears and hopes.  Much of my work is based on the subject matter of loss through war and disaster or environmental destruction, represented in layered Biro drawings using stills from films often creating an abstracted phantasmagoria of images and thoughts.  Films transport and capture our minds just like dreams do; they face our fears, portray our hopes and can be therapeutic tools in our waking hours as dreams are deemed brain therapy in our sleep.

'Chernobyl Cat', biro drawing on china, 2013 by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Chernobyl Cat’, Biro drawing on china, 2013 by Jane Lee McCracken

I made a random collection of figurines from local charity shops, so that my philosophy of simply using what is close at hand, such as a Biro for drawings was upheld with the choice of figurines available on each day.  Damaged and repaired figurines were still selected to retain the memory of the figurine’s previous life and owner.  Each figurine was then painted white, purifying them from the original manufacturers painted design and stripping each figurine back to the foundations of its physical representation thus creating a blank canvas.  This brings a sense of life to each figurine without the distraction of painted design before the original black Biro drawings are drawn onto the painted surface as well as white representing the purity of ‘a being’ at sleep.  An incredibly hard surface to draw on, these pieces were challenging and remain precious for the intimacy shared with each piece by holding them in my hands as I drew on them.

Further images will be released as this project continues.